My name is Leontine Cohen Pauka.
I am an Israeli, licensed Tour Guide and I live in Jerusalem.
I am specialized in the history of Israel.
I offer guided tours of the Old City of Jerusalem as well as tours of Tel Aviv and all of Israel.
Hello, Hallo, Bonjour
I guide in English, French, and Dutch.
Dutch : Nederlands sprekend. Gids in Israël-Neem contact met mij op voor rondleidingen in het Nederlands.
French : Contactez moi pour des visites en français. Je suis aussi une guide conférencière à Paris, certifiée par l'Etat Français, par le ministère de la Culture en France. Aujourd'hui, je vous guide à Jérusalem !
Jerusalem is unique. Here is why.
Jerusalem is not only the Capital of Israel, but also one of the most influent cities in the World, thanks to its biblical, cultural and political rich history and powerful position.
From History untill today, every soul feels that Jerusalem is the center of the world, that the city belongs to them alone, and everybody has an opinion about her long & complicated history...
That is what makes Jerusalem so unique, to me. What about you?
Wether you are Jewish, Christian, Atheist, or Muslim, Jerusalem feels like a part of all of us.
That is what I understand and acknowledge. A fun learning moment to share together.
And that is what will be our guideline as we walk and visit Jerusalem and during your trip in Israel.
I will tell you all about the history of Jerusalem and Israel.
We will travel through time and learn about the importance of Jerusalem for the Jews, Christians and Muslims.
You will hear stories and anecdotes about famous biblical and historical figures.
We will appreciate the amazing sites, seize some incredible views while we travel in history, from 9000 years ago until today.
I will show you all the famous places, as well as of the off beaten tracks in secure and safe areas.
At the end of the day you will have a full understanding and appreciation of Jerusalem and the city’s inhabitants.
You will understand why Jerusalem is such a unique city.
Leontine - Tour guide in Jerusalem
Understanding our common history in Jerusalem
One of the reasons why I became a licensed Tour Guide in Israel is because my own Jewish background is very important for me.
I learned how to understand the complex but fascinating history of Israel, and how to pass on my knowledge.
I also learned why Israel and Jerusalem are so important for Christians and Muslims:
I often guide Christians and I enjoy enlightening them with my knowledge, with my inside information that most people miss out about Jerusalem & Religions.
Suddenly, the Christian history of Israel becomes so much more meaningful.
Explaining their history to Jews from abroad is a privilege. Over the years, I have helped Jews to connect more with Israel by understanding deeply our own background.
And if you are a non affiliated believer or atheist, it is also fascinating to guide you because Israel and its past are connected to all of us, to all of our common history.
To explain and witness the appreciation is just as fun and rewarding for me and will be for you.
In order to understand everything in Jerusalem, I have designed several tours:
My walking tours in Jerusalem
The Old City Walking tour
N°1 : The Old City Walking Tour - Full Day
We will start the visit at the top of the Mount of Olives from where we will enjoy the amazing view of Jerusalem.
Then we will walk down towards the Old City and visit several important historical Jewish and Christian sites.
We will enter the Old City where I will take you through the narrow streets to discover the four quarters, the Muslim, Jewish, Armenian and Christan Quarter.
We will visit the Wailing Wall and the Temple Mount. We will follow the Via Dolorosa and visit the Holy Sepulcher.
Discover with me Mount Zion, where the tomb of King David is as well as the Room of the Last Supper are located.
I like to end the day at the wine bar in the Windmill of Montefiore in Mishkenot Sha'ananim from where we can see the last sunshine on the stones of the Old City.
During the Full Day Walking Tour of the Old City we will visit all the main sites.
It is also possible to split this day into 2 half days.
If you don’t want a Full day, we can also visit the Old City in a half day. I will propose a shortened itinerary according to your energy level, interests and expectations.
N°2 : Museum tour - Full Day / Half Day
Yad Vashem is the most famous Holocaust museum in the world.
Yad Vashem means a "Memorial for the Name. "
Israel created a special law in the 1950-s in order to preserve the memory of the 6 million Jews murdered during WW II.
This is how Yad vashem was born.
Yad Vashem is a museum, a memorial, a university, an archive and the Yad vashem also interviews the last Holocaust survivors.
The visit of yad Vashem with me covers the museum, the Children memorial hall and part of the campus.
I was trained by Yad Vashem in their special course to become one of their dedicated tour guides.
The visit of this museum is very impressive and moving.
The vist lasts a minimum of 2 hours, but in general we spend 3 hours there.
The Israel Museum is a magnificent museum with four different sections: Archeology, Jewish history, Art and temporary exhibitions.
It is very special to visit the Archeology department, where we will see items related to the Bible, to the upcoming of Christianity, the Roman period, and he Early Muslim period.
To see the actual remains found in a burial cave from the First Temple period or remains of the desert fortresses of King Herod, or an inscription with the mention of the Kingdom of David, makes your trip to Israel complete, after seeing the actual sites and hearing all my stories about the history of Israel,
To visit the Jewish department is fun and enriching. We will see interiors of ancient synagogues from India and South America, as well as jewellery, costumes and many object used in Jewish life.
The art department is just breathtaking, with paintings of Monet, Rembrandt, Picasso and Chagal for instance.
In the sculpture and archeology garden of the museum we will visit a huge model of Biblical Jerusalem.
And we will enter under the White Dome of the building with the Dead Sea scrolls, it is a must ! We will talk about the Essenes, a secret sect that lived near the Dead Sea in Qumran, and that hid their scrolls in caves in 68 AC, when the Romans attacked them.
The scrolls were discovered in 1947 and are exposed in this very special building that was created just for them.
A visit to the Israel Museum lasts a minimum of 2 hours, but in general we spend 3 hours there.
It is possible to combine these tours with the Jerusalem Walking tour and see the Western Wall.
N°3: Fun walking tours
01- West Jerusalem tour
This tour takes us to several neighborhoods in Jerusalem like the German Colony founded by German Christians in the 19th century, the Old train station, a former Lepers hospital turned into a gallery, Rehavia, where the Jewish intellectuals settled after they fled Germany in the 1930-s, the Machane Yehuda market and the Ultra Orthodox Jewish neighborhood Mea Shearim.
We will see where the hip and trendy meet, hear about life in ultra orthodox communities, taste Israeli specialties at the Machane Yehuda market and overall get a great impression of everyday life in the fascinating city of Jerusalem.
02 - Food tour in Jerusalem
On this tour we will taste and smell our way through Jerusalem.
We will understand the importance of humus, halva, pita, cheese and wine.
As Israel is a melting pot, Jews have brought their food-specialties with them, from Yemen Iraq, Morocco, Poland, Austria, the US, India and France.
We will smell the local spices and herbs and you will learn how to use them. If the tour is on Thursday afternoon we will visit the traditional bakeries in the ultra orthodox neighborhoods so we can taste their specialties for shabbat, like kugel, babka and more.
We will not forget to taste some of the amazing variety of high quality Israeli wine.
You will be very surprised how good the wine is.
I run a podcast with my friend tour guide Alan called : "Yalla Israel" where we talk about the food and other subjects related to our everyday lives in Israel : the Holiday hikes, the Hebrew language, trips to see Israel ...
We just started our channel on Instagram, on Spotify, or Youtube.
03 - Fashion tour in Jerusalem
On this tour we will visit and talk with two fashion designers and a jeweler, all three former students of the Bezalel Art academy. Their workshops are close to the Art academy and we will discover the neighborhood and some of the other funky stores.
We will learn how Jerusalem and the Middle East influence their work and see how original and unique their creations are.
According to your time and budget I can organize a small hands-on workshop with the jeweler and you can leave with your own creation.
04 - Rent a guest house near me
On this special opportunity and only for my clients, my neighbor Eric rents his apartment for your stay in Jerusalem.
A clean, modern, 3 bedroom apartment with air conditioner, fully equipped kitchen, 2 large balconies and 2 bathrooms located in West Jerusalem in the lovely neighborhood of Katamon.
You will have the apartment to yourself and a free parking available.
I will be seconds away to show you the markets around, the grocery stores, the bakery and enjoy a café together downstairs. We can enjoy a 25 minutes walk to the Old City.
Contact me in private to get more info about my guest house.
N°4: Out of the beaten tracks
If you have been to Jerusalem numerous times and you want to see something new, I will be happy to take you to off the beaten track sites, where no tourists ever come.
I will take you to the campus of the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, and we will discover treasures as well as amazing views.
If you like hiking, we can descend the mountain located West of the city of Jerusalem and cross an abandoned Arab village, with a natural pool, and hike through a beautiful Valley, until we reach Motsa.
Motsa, a tiny village, has 9000 years of history, ruins of a 3000 year old Temple that was built just like the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, and an amazing cafe, hidden away, with freshly baked cakes and amazing salads.
I can also take you to Ein Hania, a small guarded park with original pools from the Roman period, with clean, fresh water that comes from the local water source.
On a nice day you should bring you bathing suit and take a dip.
For these tours we will use transportation: We can use the local bus, taxi or rent a car with a driver.
N°5: Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv visit
Tel Aviv is trendy, hip and has a fascinating history. We will start the tour in ancient Jaffa, the ancient harbor of the country with a history that goes back to 9000 years ago.
Jaffa has become a young and hip neighborhood with lots of fun stores and a nice vibe around the flea market.
From there we will stroll through the trendy neighborhoods and the Carmel market, from where the city of Tel Aviv was born. We will discover the famous Bauhaus style of the white buildings and talk about the illegal Jewish immigration to Palestine in the early 1900-s.
We will visit the house of David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister. And we will pay a tribute to Yitzhak Rabin, the prime Minister who was murdered in 1995.
We end the day at the Northern part of Tel Aviv with its trendy promenade along the beach.
It is also possible to split this day into 2 half days.
If you don’t want a Full day we can also visit Tel Aviv in a half day. I will propose a shortened itinerary according to your interests and expectations.
I organize tours throughout all of Israel.
This includes all the famous sites, like Masada, Ein Gedi, Caesarea, the Negev, the Gold Heights, Galilee, Nazareth, but also less famous sites, regions, landmarks, National Parks and villages.
The sites and itinerary will be tailor made so it fits your interest and curiosity.
I can also organize a car and driver for a reasonable price.
If you prefer to rent a car and drive yourself , I will guide and help you navigate through the country.
I can also advise and help you with booking hotels and restaurants as well as activities, like desert drives in Jeeps, private gourmet picnics in breathtaking settings, Light and Sounds shows in Jerusalem, the Desert and Beit Shean, as well as hikes.
DID YOU KNOW ?
- The chick pea is what the baguette is to Paris and the potato is to Holland. Humus and falafel, both made from chickpea, are the national dishes of Israel. Israelis will have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It comes with raw onions, pickles and pita bread.
I will take you to different places so you can decide for yourself where to get the best humus and falafel.
- Hebrew is an old biblical language, but after the Jews were expelled from Israel 2500 years ago, the language died and was used for religious purposes only. Eliezer Ben Yehuda, who immigrated from Russia to Jerusalem in 1881, decided to revive Hebrew. He developed “ Modern Hebrew”, hoping it wold be used in the Jewish country to come. Eliezer Ben Yehuda refused to speak Russian with his wife, from the moment he developped the new language, he would only speak in modern Hebrew. He died in 1922 and didn’t see the Jewish State, but it is his Hebrew that we speak in Israel today.
- There was a War of Language in the early 1900-s among the Zionists, Jews that wanted to see the foundation of a Jewish State. The official Zionist Movement had decided that German would be the National language, as it was the language of the founder of the Zionist Movement, Theodor Herzl. But others said that the National language should be “ Modern Hebrew, developed by Eliezer ben Yehuda. When a Technical School was opened in Haifa, the two parties openly argued, hence the war of Language.
In the end, it is Hebrew that won, and it is the official National language of Israel, together with Arabic.
- The wife of the famous general and Minister of Army, Moshe Dayan, Ruth Dayan, became Israel’s first fashion designer. In 1954 she founded the fashion brand “ Maskit” and made beautiful clothes for women, using the sewing and embroidering skills of Jewish immigrants from Arab countries. Maskit became an important fashion brand and Ruth Dayan employed more than 200 workers.
- Her beautiful “ Desert Coats”, became world famous. Ruth ended her fashion adventure after nearly 20 years, but a few years ago Maskit was born again.
Today, Maskit designs the same Desert Coats and more and I highly recommend a visit to their store in Jaffa where they have a small museum about Ruth Dayan.
Ruth died last year at the age of 103. She remained implicated in Maskit until her last day.
My unique services
Shabbat Dinner with me
See more of Israel
Kibbutz trip with me
Sabbath Dinner together
A Jewish tradition in Jerusalem is to invite your friends and family for the traditional Shabbat dinner on Friday evening.
If you are invited to our dinner, make sure to come here hungry ! We will prepare plenty of food for you and share a meal with our friends in Israel.
Each family wants to make sure you will leave the dinner table very very full. The dinner usually begins with songs that welcome and celebrate the joy of receiving the opportunity to celebrate Shabbat.
Then the husband will sing a beautiful song where he thanks his wife for all the hard work she did during the past week. After the blessing of the wine and bread (unusually homemade) and when the father has blessed his children, you will be served a large variety of salads, followed by soup.
By this time you are already full, but the main dish is to come. Usually at least two different kinds of meats, with many different vegetables.
For vegetarians, I will get my Jerusalem recipe book, and cook a delicious meat-free meal for you to enjoy. Too many options are available thanks to the many fresh markets, to the infinite spices of Israel and the surrounding organic farm ingredients.
Then it is time for desert, I should say deserts......yes, several deserts are presented. The meal will end with prayers and songs.
Jerusalem is built on many mountains, so if you are lucky, when you walk back to your home or hotel you walk downwards.
If not, it is a good opportunity to walk off and digest all the delicious food you just had.
Israel has so much to offer !
From the Desert, to the Galilee sea, the country attracts millions of visitors every year.
With me, we can go on a trip and sail on the Sea of Galilee, the largest body of freshwater in the land, and have a swim.
We can travel in the footsteps of Jesus and visit sites that are mentioned in the New Testament such as Nazareth, Beit Saida, Korazim, and many more.
We can also visit the many ancient synagogues and Jewish towns which can be found in the Galilee, as many Jews moved here after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.
In Galilee, we can visit the artist village of Rosh Pina, the Kabalistic town of Safed and we can hike in the oak forests while enjoying the breathtaking views. It is in the Galilee where we can visit some of the minority groups in Israel like the Druze or Circassians.
Again, there exist many other possibilities in the Galilee with natural and historical context.
Let's enjoy a peaceful trip to a kibbutz village
We will rent a car and go see a special kibbutz located next to the caves where we found the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The kibbutz is run by Israeli settlers.
There is a shop, BnB rooms, and plenty of desert to walk and reflect.
We will meet the locals and discuss their life in a kibbutz. We can enjoy a dinner with the community in the village only restaurant.
The kibbutz is very comfortable and you can have a room with electricity, AC, heater and a hot shower.
At morning, we can go to the dead sea and enjoy a salty bath to regenerate our body's health and do good to our skin. We can enjoy a walking tour and then go back home.
Blogs and Videos
Follow me in Jerusalem on the footsteps of the amazing life of the Christian Martyr: Saint Stephen
Since Great Britain obtained the mandate at the end of World War 1 over what was then called Palestine, the Jewish community there was represented by the Jewish Agency.
In the footsteps of Jerusalem Of Gold
Israel has two national anthems: The Hatikva and Jerusalem Of Gold,
The Hatikva, which means the Hope, is the official anthem, but Jerusalem Of Gold, Jerushalaïm Shel Zahaav in Hebrew, is almost more famous.
Why is that ? How was this song born and what does it mean ?
Let’s discover it together.
I am very passionate about Israel and Jerusalem in particular but also about Israel. I never get bored exploring the city and learning about it.
I write about it and I design food tours and shopping tours with excellent local and authentic shops from both origins : arab and jewish in the Old city of Jerusalem so you can have the best experience of the cultural texture of this amazing city !
I am also passionate about researching and writing, especially about Israel History. I wrote articles about theJewish Resistance in Israel, Jerusalem,..
If you have any question, please Feel free to ask me about Jerusalem, your trip to Israel, I will be very happy to help you !
If you wish to visit the Mount Zion, the Mount of Olives or any other sites in Jerusalem, let me know.
I will help you plan your trip to Israel, by Email or Whatsapp.
It is Free !
You don't need to book a tour with me to talk about your trip.
It is my real pleasure to help fellow travelers to come visit Israel.
Send me an email to say Hi if you share the same passion about Israel.
Send me a quick email and I will be happy to answer your questions about your trip to Israel after Covid 19
We can talk about the security and the health measures implemented in the state of Israel to protect our guests and visitors, we can discuss the organisation for a big group tour, the museums, ideas of what restaurants you should go to, about the hotels and kibbutz, the airbnb in Jerusalem ... Any question you will have, please send it to me.
I will keep you updated with the latest news directly by email, from Jerusalem, where I live.
Whatsapp : +972 52-754-9422
I will be happy to help you organize your trip to Israel efficiently
"Without Jerusalem, the land of Israel is as a body without a soul."