Ben YehudaI actually think I’m getting more used to “yayeafet.”  This is the relatively new Hebrew word for the traveling phenomena known as “jet-lag.”  Yayeafet (pronounced “ya-yea-fet,” with the accent on the second syllable) is one of many new vocabulary words used in modern-day Israel.  As the Hebrew language is continuously adding more and more words to their listing of vocabulary, this is one of them.  Back in the days when Eliezar Ben-Yehuda revived Hebrew as a spoken language when he moved to Israel in 1881, air travel between continents obviously did not yet exist.  But as Ben-Yehuda could envision Hebrew as a spoken language once more, in his own words, “The Hebrew language can live only if we revive the nation and return it to the fatherland.”  I just wonder if he could even imagine new words like yayeafet being created 75+ years after his death in 1922?

I have learned a few tricks of the trade that seem to help me counter the effects of yayeafet or jet-lag.  The first is to sleep as much as possible on the 10.5 hour non-stop night flight to Tel Aviv.  After dinner is served, it’s “light’s out” (with a little help from a Tylenol PM of course to take off the edge and excitement).   Landing in Tel Aviv in the mid-afternoon, getting your luggage, proceeding through passport control, and finally boarding our bus, it’s critical to resist the temptation to nap on the way to our first night’s hotel.  Even more important is to not go to bed too early the first night.  This is one reason why I like to hold an “orientation” meeting as well as an optional walk (usually along the Med Sea).  Going to bed no earlier than 10 p.m. prevents one of waking up at 2 or 3 a.m. without being able to get back to sleep.  While the next day (usually the first full day of site-seeing) gets long, yayeafet can be beaten back early in the tour despite the usual 7 hour time difference (EST).

delta-airplaneThe same strategy pertains on the return trip home.  Sleeping on the plane on the way home is key to be able to resist the temptation of going to bed early on that first day back.  Although admittedly after this most recent tour, the 25th Israel tour I’ve been privileged to lead, I’ve been feeling tired and ready for bed at 8-9 p.m. instead of my usual 10:30 or 11 bedtime.

So add yafeafet to your vocabulary.  Just don’t blame this “pre-Ben-Yehuda” Hebrew word for falling asleep during your pastor’s sermon. 🙂

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