Welcome, Judith. What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?
I was born and raised in
Maryland but have lived in for the past 35 years. I grew up in a Jewish home and graduated from high school in the time of the Vietnam War and the “flower power” phenomenon. After a year of college I began traveling the world while delving into many New Age beliefs. My wanderings took me to Israel where I began reading the Bible. To my surprise I found myself believing in Jesus, which went against everything I was taught. Not long afterward I met my husband here and we immigrated together to Israel in 1976. Israel
Tell us about your family.
John is from
Holland, from a Catholic background, and had a similar experience as I did in starting to believe in Jesus in . We married in Israel Maryland 36 years ago and lived a year in Key West, Florida, before returning to . We settled in the small city of Israel Eilat, in the south, on the Red Sea. We have four children born here, two boys and two girls. All went to Israeli schools, served in the army, and are currently living in . Two are married and we have two small granddaughters as well as two Sudanese foster grandsons. Israel
What do you do in
John and I opened the Shelter Hostel 26 years ago, a guest house for travelers and a drop-in center. We aim to provide for people’s physical, spiritual and emotional needs. Guests from all countries of the world, of all ages, stay with us for one night or for several years. The hostel has 40 beds for guests plus we have four or five volunteer staff members living and working with us. Most people pay for their stay but we also take needy people who help instead of paying. It becomes like a home away from home especially for the long-timers. For John and I and our children also, the Shelter is much more than a job or business. It’s a ministry and a way of life.
Besides the Shelter Hostel, John is the leader of a small non-denominational, multi-cultural fellowship. We began about 30 years ago meeting in our living room as the only congregation in our town.
Have you written other nonfiction books?
My first book, Walk the Land – A Journey on Foot through Israel, was published by Cladach Publishing nearly four years ago. John and I felt the need to take a break from our busy lives and since we love hiking and discovering new places in
Israel, we decided to walk the Israel National Trail, a hiking path 600 miles long from the Lebanese to the Egyptian border with . We carried backpacks and camped in the wilderness. I was becoming interested in writing at that time so I kept a journal of our 42-day trip. It’s not a guide book but a travel memoir in which I describe the background of interesting places we passed through, people we met, lessons God taught me along the way, and John and my interactions with each other. It’s been translated and published in German, Dutch and Hebrew. Israel
Do you have any other books in the works right now?
Not really. I’ve enjoyed the process of writing books and seeing them published so I’m trusting God to give me an idea. I keep a journal which may lead to my next book. The two books I’ve written are the kind of books I like to read myself.
What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
I live in a beautiful part of the world, I think. Eilat is located between the Negev and Sinai deserts on the
Red Sea. So I enjoy getting out into nature – hiking and camping in the mountains nearby and snorkeling in our beautiful coral reefs. I like to read. And we do a lot of entertaining, not in a formal way, but just by having an open house. God has enabled John and me to travel quite a bit which always excites me.
What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
We shouldn’t limit ourselves but should be open to what God brings to our lives. We should especially be looking around for needy people around us, even if they are from different cultures and backgrounds. God has blessed us so abundantly that we should be always willing to share our blessings with others. God can use us in ways we could never imagine.
Where on the Internet can the readers find you?We have a website for our hostel: www.shelterhostel.com and I’ve recently created a website for my books: www.judithpex.com. Or you can find me through my publisher, at www.cladach.com.
Thank you, Judith, for spending this time with us and giving us a glimpse into your interesting life.
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