IS THE ONE WHOSE STRENGTH IS IN THEE
WHOSE HEART IS SET ON PILGRIMAGE"
for her interactive guiding style, Gila combines
knowledge with humor in a way that especially
engages her groups. Her rousing repertoire of
Christian spirituals and Jewish folk tunes are used
as sing-a-longs for some of the world’s oldest Bible
highways and crossroads. Her groups declare
that her enthusiasm and excitement are contagious.
And her tour leaders appreciate her flexible
approach which accommodates diverse backgrounds and
expectations. Bring her M&Ms and she will do almost
Nystrom, President, IGM Tours, Castro Valley,
"I’m convinced that Gila is one of the best Holy
Land tour guides alive today! Her knowledge of
history and the Bible is phenomenal. She went
above and beyond our groups' expectations. It
wasn’t just an intellectual tour either.
We had a blast! Lots of laughs along the
way. You’ll consider yourself fortunate if you’re
able to tour with her. I just finished touring
and can’t wait to bring another group -- with Gila, of
course!" Pastor Greg
Bryan, Serving The Navigators
Gila sitting on Pistachio (fistuk
halabi) at the lowest place on earth
with Pastor Greg Bryan's group
"Having traveled to Israel
on a number of occasions one thing is certain: the
right guide will make or break the trip. I am
convinced that Gila Yudkin is the right guide.
Her knowledge and love of the Holy Land is
unmatched. Gila brings a historical and
archeological perspective that will enhance every
pilgrim's experience. Not only does Gila
possess the knowledge and insight that a high
caliber guide needs, she provides a sense of safety,
as well as a level of comfort, whether it be at
various sites or during lunch breaks.
Gila has one of the most pleasing personalities one
will ever encounter. She is very much aware of
the character of the group she is guiding and
sensitive to its particular needs. And, I have
a friend that I love and trust!"
Jim Colledge, DMin., Christ
Community Chapel, Hudson, Ohio (February 2022)
Photos of Gila taken by
participants of Dr. Jim's Jan/Feb 2022 Holy Land
Photo courtesy of Julie Wise
Photo courtesy of
Gila outside the Caesarea theater
showing her favorite sculpture
Gila reading the Bible by the
House of Simon
the Tanner in Jaffa as the sun is setting
(and it was cold and windy!)
over the Mediterranean Sea behind
NEWS is that everyone of us thoroughly
enjoyed your guiding and look forward to
having you guide us once again. Your
insight and flexibility was most appreciated
along with your delightful personality."
Stephen Ministry Leader, Little Falls, MN
"I believe this was the best trip yet. The
combination of your encyclopedic knowledge of the
places, customs, geography, along with my ministry
focus is very effective. Many of our group were in
tears at the airport, so thankful they came.
They were already asking, " when can we go again?"
Please accept our heartfelt thanks for a wonderful
Pastor John Bailey, New Life Baptist, New
Wilmington, PA (October 2017)
|"You did a marvelous
job navigating us through the twists and turns of
the week. Our men were especially impressed
with how you were able to take charge in iffy
situations without getting pushy or rattled.
Good job!" Pastor Ken
Sheppard, Frisco, Texas (14th tour, March
“My folks appreciated
your heart, sense of humor and your knowledge.
And you made this trip a Great ‘Baptist’
Experience!” Dr. Rob
Zinn, Senior Pastor, Immanuel Baptist Church,
"Gila, you impart the excitement and joy of history,
present and future of Israel. Thanks so much
for helping our group enjoy and treasure our common
heritage. You're a super guide!"
Rev. Darrell Mount, United Methodist Church, Denver,
‘Thank you for your friendship, your sense of fun
and above all for sharing your passion for the Holy
Land with us. It is something we will never
Michael Goonan, Victoria, Australia
Gila guiding on Mount
“In the forty times I have brought adult
groups or student excavation volunteers to
Israel, Gila is the best
guide I have worked with. For the past
eleven years, I have requested her annually,
before I even leave the country. Her
knowledge, personality with groups and
understanding of how to best live-out each
day is beyond comparison.
This past February of 2008 we had snow in
Jerusalem all night long and then the next
morning as well, which was an oddity.
Gila found a way to make sure we did not
miss even one of the sites on our itinerary
by planning around and dealing with the
She really knows what she is doing!”
Dr. Jimmy Albright, Pastor of Wyatt Park
Church, St. Joseph, Missouri, Professor of
Archaeology, Missouri Western State
University and current archaeologist at Tel Bethsaida
"The determining success of any Holy Land
experience is your guide. During my 24
trips to visit this land, I have had no guide
more dedicated to the people's safety,
scheduling workable itineraries and
giving truthful knowledge of biblical sites
than my friend Gila Yudkin. When I
have Gila I can relax and enjoy the trip, a
luxury often missed by those who host
Bobby Clark, Missionary to Mexico
BOOK GILA for your customized private tour
arrived in Tel Aviv and put ourselves in
Gila’s capable hands, the trip just seemed
to take care of itself. From Newark to
Israel and back we were never late, sick,
anxious, or over-tired. The pace was
perfect, the weather super and the sites
more than met the expectations of those who
traveled with me. In fact, our pastor
on the trip, Rev. John Kruger, said that
Galilee alone met all of his expectations
for the entire trip! And it only got
better from there.
Our students came as
dry sponges and left full of rich memories
of experience and teaching. As one
student said to me as we left the airport
for home, ‘That was a great tour,
Kevin, a great tour!’
Indeed it was.”
Kevin Saunders, Bible Teacher, Logos
Ministries, Chandler, Arizona
Gila showing "the road to
Damascus" and the Via Maris on site
"Gila your incredible information, perfect
scheduling and pleasant personality made
everyone's trip the best it could be.
You are easy to work with -- more so than
some guides. You went the extra mile
when several people misplaced items.
Finding Fran's camera was an exclamation
point in service.
I have been on 7 trips to Israel -- and this
was the most enjoyable of all!"
Roger Lawhon, Four
Time Tour Host,
Cedar Park, Texas
"Nell and I both count your friendship and
the joy of traveling with you in 1984, 1992
and 2000 as having been among the chief joys
of our lives. We thank you, and we
thank God for you!"
J. Curtis Manor,
Gospel Preacher, Searcy, Arkansas
leading a tour to the Holy
Land? Everything you must
from A to Z!
every landmark, building, every site, every
rock, every hill and road, every mountain or
body of water come alive for us. We
re-lived the Old and New Testament through
your words. We shared in your love of
your country and your absolute dedication to
your people and its remarkable history as a
Barbara Manderbach, Burlington, New Jersey
Gila helped us have a life-changing
experience in the Holy Land! She was
an amazing and beloved tour guide for our
group of 14 from the US. We were able
to glean key insights, which made our
understanding of Bible stories more
3-dimensional. I can't wait to read
the gospels again with this new perspective
(and really, all of the Bible)! Gila holds a
treasury of Bible and historical knowledge
from her own study, and also from her
personal experiences in Israel and all over
And we had so much fun! Gila brought
us to some places off the beaten track, and
the whole trip felt like an adventure.
She said our group was "intrepid," so that
became our team name. Between the
laughter and the tears, the awe and the deep
stirrings of the soul, we encountered the
living God in a new way in Israel, and we
will never be the same. Thank you,
Gila! You're the BEST!
Jamey C. from San
Antonio, Texas (February 2023)
Jamey (wearing black and
white shirt) and her "intrepid" group led by
Pastor Greg Bryan after the Dead Sea float
"Gila, what a blessing you are! You
did a superb job! You are a great
teacher and story teller with good
leadership skills! You have a sense of
humor! You have a fantastic sense of
AND you have the patience of Job!
|I have been
on many tour trips and would rate you:"
West Middlesex, PA,
with the Bill Rudge pilgrim group, April
"Our trip with you back in 2010 was the last
time we were physically in Israel. But
mentally and spiritually we are there nearly
every day. When we receive and read
your emails, we can almost smell the olive
trees and have to look to see if we need to
kick the dust off our shoes. So many
wonderful memories instantly come flooding
back! Without a doubt, best trip of
Tony Harding, Seattle, Washington
(January 2020, written ten years after his
tour with Gila!)
"Every issuance of news that Israel is under
attack brings you to my mind and heart.
My memories of our wonderful trip in Israel
in 2007 and the time spent learning by your
side are so vivid, I can imagine that I'm
still there....Wishing [I] could go back.
Things are so unstable over there that a lot
of folks I know are very hesitant to visit,
but I tell them that I never felt insecure
b/c of the military and police presence
You added something wonderful to my life for
which I will forever be grateful. May
God protest you and bless you wherever you
are and wherever you go."
Boeme, Texas (May 2021)
"Jerusalem was a spiritual journey for me.
A "feeling" I got walking the walk, being on
the Mount of Olives, in the Garden of
Gethsemane, visiting Bethlehem. Imagining
all that has taken place in that area.
Christianity was so much a part of my
growing years: Sunday school, church choir,
youth group, church camps each summer.... To
actually be there gave me chills. My
mother was quite spiritual and I felt that I
was carrying her with me while in Israel.
Gila, you made it all so special. I
still can't believe you got us in the back
way to the grotto of the Nativity.
Your connections with people were
astounding. Having you there with us
made all the difference. Such a joy!!"
"You have an uncanny ability to avoid the
crowds and the rain. We are
overwhelmed by the depth of your knowledge.
We love your humor and your patience with us
when we stray or are slow. Thanks for
a memorable trip of a lifetime. God
Barry and Sherry C., Streetsboro, Ohio
"I believe that I can speak for every one of
us from First Baptist Saint Albans, we had
the Holy Land Trip of a lifetime. Your
guidance and information were invaluable,
you were an excellent guide and I could tell
you have a deep passion for your craft and
your country. Along with, you gave us
the insights of passing through customs,
traversing check points, and making sure we
made the next appointment. Time
management is very important to me, and you
made it possible for us to see as much of
the historical sites as day light provided.
The trip was absolutely GREAT !!! It
was the most informative, educational,
historical, and religious vacation I have
ever had. The educational and
historical benefits will carry through the
rest of my life. And to think that we
walked the path of so many of our religious
fathers and of Jesus Christ himself!"
Dave De Hart,
St. Albans, West Virginia
Tour the Temple
in the company of Abraham and Isaac, David
and Solomon, Jesus and the disciples, the
angel Gabriel and Mohammed -- and Gila. Meet many
other luminaries, both real and legendary.
Now available as a written 24-page
PDF with a
Temple Mount plan,
guidelines for passing the security check
and the ten best reads on the Temple
Mount from Gila's bookshelves.
"I am so thankful for how God has knitted
you together. With a steady calmness
and patience, your abundant knowledge and
experiences have made the pages of God's
Word come alive -- in living color with
smells and tastes and history and stories.
Big things got bigger, and 'small things'
gained more detail.
God has given you a
mighty gift, Lady!"
The day we visited where Jesus preached the
Sermon on the Mount, our pastor forgot his
bible. I had a bible and someone had
to show me where to find the Beatitudes.
While I was reading, something special
happened and I felt like I was being
"set-up" for something else. After
returning home, our regular Sunday School
teacher got sick and I was "drafted."
I have been teaching now for over a decade.
Your guidance through the holy land and your
story telling talent inspired me to be a
"story-teller" teacher like you. You
made the people of the bible 'real' and it
doesn’t seem like it was all that long ago
that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob set in motion
the religion that we follow today.
I am a very lucky fellow to be allowed to
teach the bible. Like you, I am very
careful to let the stories speak, and not to
put too much of "me" into it. I
believe God interprets the stories for us.
Bob Branson, Bible
Teacher, Christ United Methodist Church,
"Your knowledge, experience, and passion for
Israel make you the ideal guide. The
trip was beyond amazing, in large part
because of the superb organization
beforehand and the teaching gifts that you
willingly share with us pilgrims. The
trip was a blessing that I will cherish for
the rest of my life and my ministry.
May God's peace
fill your heart."
Killgore, St. Joseph, Missouri
"Your enthusiasm and love for your Mother
Country was evident daily in everything you
shared with us -- from songs, to
archeological findings, to the Bible, to
day-to-day living. You made the trip
full of awe at every turn. May God
richly bless you as you continue on your
exciting journey of opening the hearts and
eyes of pilgrims to experience our beloved
Patty Leepa, Ellicott City, Maryland.
Member/singer with The National Christian
Choir in Our Nations Capital
"We of Yellow Bus fame often talk of you and
our adventures in the Holy land. The
memory of you tossing your chewing gum in
the holy water [in the Church of the
Annunciation in Nazareth] will remain in my
heart forever. It still makes me laugh
to think of your facial expression the
minute you realized what had just happened!
(Probably made Him laugh too! At least
I imagine a little grin on His face.)"
National Christian Choir, Greater
"I am a Retired Naval Officer who spent my
last tour as the Deputy Program Manager for
the f-14 Tomcat fighter. This duty
took me on many official tours of aircraft
plants and the various supporting
contractors and I can't recall a tour more
memorable than the one you led this past
March. I was more than impressed with
your leadership and uncommon knowledge of
the sites we visited. You delivered it
all with a most attractive, intimate and
eloquent presence, that left us all in awe
of your knowledge and abilities.
Thank you so very much for being you and
projecting us all on the paths of Christ.
God Bless you, dear Gila."
Marv Holgren, Capt.
USN Retired, Del Mar, California
"Thanks so much for your excellent
shepherding of our group in Israel.
You did a great job! And for the extra
personal touches like the lunch on the Dan
River away from the main tourist lanes, and
at our farewell in the Yemenite quarter of
Tel Aviv, and in the fishing boat cruise
(versus standard commercial vessel) on the
Sea of Galilee. I've since talked to a
number of people who've been to Israel --
none of whom walked the wall ramparts or
waded through Hezekiah's tunnel."
"A few people that we meet during our lives
we won't forget...and you are one of those
special people. You made the history
of Israel come alive and your patience with
our questions made us feel special.
You always made us feel comfortable and
safe. Thank you, Gila."
San Jose, California
"Thank you for bringing us safely through
rushing water of Qumran, for guiding our
tour ship through the ups and downs of
making connections and giving us our first
taste of the Holy Land. Thank you for
arguing our case before several shop owners,
guides and others. We owe you a great deal
of appreciation and respect for your courage
Not only your expect guidance, your patience
under pressure, your clear directions, and
your understanding of our needs and wants
but also for your commitment and dedication
which are an inspiration!" Sister Clare
Sweeney, Tempe, Arizona
|"Wow, words cannot even begin to express my
gratitude and love that you blessed me with.
Your knowledge and wisdom about Israel, both
historically and biblically is truly
amazing. Thank you for sharing what I
imagine is just a drop in the bucket of your
wealth of information on Israel, your love
for Israel, your own personal experiences
and all the laughter."
Robin Gemoya, Grand
“You gave to us more than we could have
hoped for. Your knowledge seems endless. You
have charm and true wit. You see irony
portrayed in many ways. We saw through
your eyes and received not just a few days,
but many years of living.”
Don and Mary
Schmidt, San Diego, California
|"At age 69 I
have been blessed to visit the Holy Land and
had the best guide there to lead us through
this experience. Your knowledge of the
Bible and history is amazing. I wish I
had the capacity to remember all that you
shared with us. I prayed all through
the trip for the strength to experience all
that was offered and amazingly God blessed
me with the ability to do things that I
could not imagine I was able to do."
"What I admire most is your passion for the
archeology of the area and the abundance of
interesting details you share that make
history come alive. Each new day was
as intriguing as the last. Even now,
if I close my eyes, I can see you telling us
about the sites we saw and hear your voice
and expressions. Thank you for
instilling these lasting impressions."
Anne Askay, Long
Coming to Jerusalem
this year? Are you coming from very
far away and want every minute to matter?
Would you like to experience both the authentic
and the traditional sites, yet you are most
interested in finding the venues where you can
quietly be transported back in your imagination to
the time of Jesus? David? Abraham?
Make every minute matter while you "Explore
Jerusalem's Soul" with
Gila's Unorthodox Guide.
The up-to-date PDF (Adobe Acrobat) 46-page guide
gives you the Top Ten places to meditate on the
Bible, the Top Ten lesser-known churches worth
visiting, the Top Ten most rewarding roof-top
views and the top Ten places for sampling Middle Eastern
TIPS FOR TOURS