about judy

Judith Pex

Judy Pex (Judith) is an explorer, adveturer and author. Together with her husband John they are the pioneers behind the Shelter hostel in Eilat in Israel. From here all the journeys started that Judith Pex has written about.

My own journey

I was born in Washington, D.C. but have been living in Israel since 1976. My journey here was a circuitous one, including three years living in an Eskimo village in Alaska and a year hitchhiking through Europe. I didn’t plan on staying when I arrived here, but my life was changed when I picked up a Bible thinking that by reading it I could learn about Israel’s history.

I was living at the time in an oasis in the Sinai with no one to explain or teach me, and was immediately captivated by the truths I was reading – different from any other book I had encountered. Having been raised Jewish, I never imagined I would believe in Yeshua (Jesus) but I couldn’t deny the prophecies I read in the Tenach (Old Testament) as well as the words in the gospels.

A few months later I met my husband John, from Holland, who had a similar experience when he came to Israel. We were married in the U.S. and after a year returned to Israel as new immigrants to live in Eilat on the Red Sea.

In 1984 we began the Shelter Hostel, a guest house for people from all over the world and a drop-in center. We have been privileged through the years to meet thousands of people and to be able to help meet their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

After managing the Shelter Hostel in Eilat for 20 years, we felt we needed a break – from people, phones, and all the stresses of our busy life. A chance encounter with a young couple in a remote desert oasis evoked in us the vision to hike the Israel Trail, a marked path of 1000 kilometers. Walking 20 or more kilometers a day sounded like the perfect way to rest. Thus in 2005 we took a two month break which became a pivotal experience in our lives and led to me writing my first book, “Walk the Land – A Journey on Foot through Israel.”

Besides the usual visitors, our work in the Shelter has tended through the years to focus on different people groups who have come through Eilat. In the beginning we dealt largely with hippies and backpackers. In the early 1990’s Israel was flooded by immigrants from the former Soviet Union and for many, the Shelter was their first stop. They were followed by construction workers brought in from Romania and the Republic of China to build houses for the Russians and we found both groups thankful to find a place and people who welcomed them.

In the spring of 2007 Sudanese refugees who had fled their civil war and jumped over the border between Egypt and Israel appeared on the streets of Eilat. Our involvement with them led to my second book,People Tall and Smooth – Stories of Escape from Sudan to Israel.”

In 2004 at the urging of friends and former Shelter volunteers, I decided to undertake a book about the hostel. I thought,outlined, collected stories, and began to write, but then we took off on the Israel Trail. The Shelter book was put aside as I wrote the other two books, but it wasn’t forgotten. I began again in 2012 and Come, Stay, Celebrate: The Story of the Shelter Hostel in Eilat, Israel was published in 2014.

I published To Belong: A Novel in September 2022. It tells the story of Tamar, an Israeli woman living in Eilat who with her husband, Steve, take two Sudanese refugees as foster children but face opposition from all sides. The reader is introduced to characters from all walks of life and receives a picture of life in this unusual location.

We have four children and are the happy grandparents of ten biological and four foster grandchildren.

In my free time I like to hike and camp in the mountains around Eilat, snorkel in the Red Sea, travel, read, write, and spend time with family and friends.

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What others have to say


"Judith Galblum Pex tells the story well, and we get emotionally involved in the lives of her characters. She also introduces other individuals who are searching for their own sense of belonging...But I think the thing I loved most about ‘To Belong’ is the authors setting. Eilat is described so well, it’s spectacular beaches, coral reefs and marine wildlife. The mountains, wadi’s and deserts that surround this oasis. The heat and the flash floods The warm sea to swim in and the beach to relax on. The people, the tourists, and the lifestyle."

Joy Margetts, Author of Christian Historical Fiction

Auteur naam

“Come, Stay, Celebrate! is a breath of fresh air in a world full of strife. It’s the story of a hostel in the southern reaches of Israel, a place where travelers, hikers, drug addicts, and refugees of various generations and wars gather to find hospitality and acceptance. Each world conflict of the past four decades leads to new waves of people coming through the Shelter Hostel, and Judith Galblum Pex presents their stories with grace.”

Eric Wilson, NY Times bestselling author of Fireproof, October Baby, and Field of Blood

 “Judy Pex is a verbal camera. She describes in such exquisite detail the vast Israeli wilderness as well as the noisy Israeli cities and towns that you feel both the concerns and the delights of such a remarkable trip. But much more, she communicates her deep love for both the land and the people, a love that accepts both the difficulties of the trail and the various and colorful individuals she and John encounter as they cross Israel from bottom to top.”

Sam Nadler, President, Word of Messiah Ministries

“This spellbinding book which gives the reader a heart-wrenching look into the lives of five special human beings who have suffered incredible persecution puts a human face on the statistics we hear concerning Sudan.”

Fran Boyle, DirectorCLIM (Connecting Lives International MissionUSA

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