Naomi Ragen is an American-born novelist, playwright and journalist who has lived in Jerusalem since 1971. Naomi has written for the Jerusalem Post and other publications in Israel and abroad, as well as to her mailing list, about Israel and Jewish issues.

Naomi's tenth novel The Devil in Jerusalem has been chosen by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency as the number one Jewish book of the season.
The story - inspired by true events - begins with an ambulance screaming through Jerusalem’s quiet streets. Inside, a toddler fights for his life, his parents nowhere to be found. With profound shock, an emergency room doctor realizes that the child’s mother, a young American, is already at the hospital sitting at the bedside of yet another child with traumatic injuries, devoutly reciting Psalms and stubbornly refusing to answer any questions. “שטן
The Devil in Jerusalem is a chilling tale of the paths that so easily lead us astray, and the darkness within us all. Click the book’s cover to learn more.

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Naomi has published ten internationally best-selling novels, and is the author of a hit play (Women's Minyan) that has been performed more than 500 times in Israel's National Theatre (Habimah) as well as in the United States and Argentina.
An Orthodox woman, feminist and iconoclast, Naomi is a tireless advocate for women's rights in Israel, waging a relentless campaign against domestic abuse and bias in rabbinical courts, as well as a successful Supreme Court case against gender segregation on Israeli buses.
With her tenth novel, The Devil in Jerusalem, Naomi continues her ground-breaking exploration of women in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish world she began in 1989 with Jephte's Daughter, followed by Sotah and The Sacrifice of Tamar.
Naomi is a sought-after lecturer all over the world. If your group is interested in hosting Naomi, please click here.

October 2016 - The Devil in Jerusalem is published in paperback.
November 2015 - The Jewish Telegraphic Agency puts The Devil in Jerusalem at the top of its list of the best Jewish books of the season.
November 2015 - Naomi lectured in Newton (MA), Boca Raton (FL), Miami (FL), St. Louis (MO), New York City, Atlanta (GA), Cherry Hill (NJ) and Santa Fe (NM).
“שטןAugust 2015 - Naomi’s new book, שטן בירושלים, a translation of The Devil in Jerusalem, is published.
Le Dixieme Chant8-19 March 2015 - Naomi toured France and Switzerland, speaking to her readers in Paris, Marseilles, Strasbourg and Geneva about her new French book, Le Dixieme Chant, a translation of The Tenth Song.
12-20 November 2014 - Naomi lectured at the Windsor Writer’s Conference in Windsor, ON as well as in Detroit, Toronto and Winnipeg.
The Sisters Weiss7 October 2014 - Naomi's ninth novel, The Sisters Weiss, was published in paperback. It's the story of two sisters from an ultra-Orthodox family in 1950s Brooklyn who take very different paths, and then find their lives unexpectedly intersecting again forty years later. To order the book from Amazon, click the book cover above.

8-17 August 2014 - Naomi was the scholar-in-residence on Kosherica's Kosher Baltic Cruise aboard the Norwegian Cruise Lines Star. The 9 night cruise visited Copenhagen, Rostock, Tallinn, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Stockholm.

Salone Internazionale del Libro 8-9 May 2014 - Naomi took part in a panel discussion on women in Israel, together with Fiamma Nirenstein and Elena Loewenthal, at the Salone Internazionale del Libro 2014 in Turin, Italy.

December 2013 - Watch an interview (in French) with Naomi about her struggle against the haredi war on women in Israel.
Watch an interview (in French) with Naomi about Le Serment.

December 2013 - Naomi visited Île-de-France to promote her new book Le serment (the French translation of The Covenant).

Sotah 15 March 2012 - Sotah was published in Italian as L'amora proibito. Read a review (in Italian).

Jephte's Daughter March 2012 - Jephte's Daughter was published in an Italian paperback edition, as Una moglie a Gerusalemme.

Le Fantôme de Dona Gracia Mendes October 2011 - The Ghost of Hannah Mendes was published in French as Le Fantôme de Dona Gracia Mendes. Read a review (in French).

The Tenth Song October 2011 - The Tenth Song was published in paperback.

May 2011 - Four-time Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh directed a staged reading of Women's Minyan at New York's Westside Theater. The reading was produced by One Circle Productions, in partnership with Safe Horizon.

Watch the reading. Watch an interview with Naomi and Tovah Feldshuh.

Le serment November 2013 - The Covenant was published in French as Le serment.

November 2013 - Watch an interview with Naomi by Sharon Mor of Shaulina Productions about Naomi's new book The Sisters Weiss in Hebrew or in English.

6 November 2013 - Israel's Supreme Court reversed the District Court's decision against Naomi in the Shapiro case and ordered Shapiro to return the money she was awarded. Naomi agreed that the money be donated to charity.
October-November 2013 - Naomi toured the US, visiting twelve US cities and speaking about her new book, The Sisters Weiss.
The Sisters Weiss October 2013 - Naomi's ninth novel, The Sisters Weiss, was published. Read an article about it in the San Diego Jewish World.
Chains Around the Grass August 2013 - Chains Around the Grass was published in an Amazon Kindle edition.
July 2013 - An interview with Naomi about her trips to Spain to research her best-selling The Ghost of Hannah Mendes was featured in Jewish Travel.
December 2012 - Naomi's play Women's Minyan was performed by the West Boca Theatre Company at the Levis JCC in Boca Raton, Florida.
November 2012 - Naomi visited Île-de-France speaking about her books.
5 November 2012 - Naomi spoke at the Cockfosters and North Southgate Synagogue in London, England.


The Devil in Jerusalem (שטן בירושלים)

“The The Devil in Jerusalem begins with an ambulance screaming through Jerusalem’s quiet streets. Inside, a toddler fights for his life, his parents nowhere to be found. With profound shock, an emergency room doctor realizes that the child’s mother, a young American, is already at the hospital sitting at the bedside of yet another child with traumatic injuries. Devoutly reciting Psalms, she stubbornly refuses to answer any questions, cautioning her children to say nothing.

Brought in to investigate, Jerusalem detective Binah Tzedek, herself a young mother, carefully peels back layer after layer of secrets and lies, following a dark, winding path through Jerusalem’s Old City, kabbalists, mystical ancient texts and terrifying cult rituals until she comes face-to-face with the horrifying truth that has held a young American family captive.

The Devil in Jerusalem is a chilling tale of the paths that so easily lead us astray, and the darkness within us all.

Click the book’s cover to learn more.

Some Reviews of The Devil in Jerusalem

Jerusalem Post

A captivating intense read … The piercing, heartbreaking story will not be forgotten quickly by the reader.

Booklist (starred review)

Ragen draws on the tactics of cult leaders and on victim testimony to craft this exploration of religious fanaticism… Readers of Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places (2009) and Emma Donoghue’s Room (2010) will be drawn to this terrifying and compelling novel.


This is one of the best books I’ve read in 2015 so far! … The religious implications made are not unique to Judaism or even Israel, and there is a sad realization that what happened to Daniella and her family is not that rare. The premise is terrifying, but the execution of it all was so engrossing, I could hardly put it down.

Working Mother

The Devil in Jerusalem by Naomi Ragen is an intense thriller, but even more upsetting is that this story was based on a true event. Readers will be kept riveted to their seat with this gripping narrative.


“The topic is very disturbing. The author tells of a family very involved with their Jewish religion that becomes a cult due to the leader’s psychopathic behavior… A page turner.” — Rated 5

“I can’t believe this book was over 300 pages! I read it so quickly – it was probably the most compelling book I have read.” —Rated 5


Heart pounding tension and disturbing but real narrative – this is one of Ragen’s finest works” — 5 stars

“This is a very well-written, gripping, and suspenseful novel that is based on true horrendous events.” — 5 stars

Book Group Discussion Questions for The Devil in Jerusalem

  1. The title of this book can be seen as a metaphor.  To what do you think the title can refer?
  2. The main character of this book is Daniella, the mother of the children.  How do you feel about this character?  Did your feelings change from the beginning to the end of the book?  If so, why?
  3. After reading this book, how do you feel about the widespread acceptance of kabbalah studies and mystics into the Jewish world.  What was your feeling before reading it?
  4. Describe the relationship between Daniella and her mother.  Had Daniella had a different family situation, would she have made different choices?  What in her upbringing contributed to  what happened to her?
  5. Shlomie was born into a secular family, before finding his way back to traditional Judaism.  What is your opinion of him?  How would his life have been different if he had remained “Steven?”  Does his story have widespread implications? If so, what are they?
  6. Bina Tzedek is a modern Orthodox detective.  How does this case affect her life?  What does the juxtaposition of Bina to Daniella  say about Orthodoxy and religious observance in the modern world?   Do you agree or disagree?
  7. Did Rabbanit Toledo behave properly?
  8. How is it possible to stop such a case in the future?
  9. The real mother in this case is now seeking  to regain custody of her children her ex-husband.  If you were the judge in her case, what would you do?  Why?
  10. In what way does the prologue in this book foreshadow the story that is to come?
  11. Who are the heroes in this book?
  12. Who is this book undergoes the most significant transformation?
  13. Who is Shem Tov?  In what way is he a product of his upbringing and environment, and in what way is he totally removed from them?  Had Shem Tov been born to a completely secular family in America, would he have been a different person?

Hebrew Translation of The Devil in Jerusalem


The Hebrew translation, שטן בירושלים, was published in August 2015.

.התרגום העברי של הספר, שטן בירושלים, יצא לאור באוגוסט 2015

.הקלק על תמונת העטיפה ללמוד עוד

יהודית רותם – ישראל היום

קראתי אותו, כפי שקראתי את כל אחד מעשרת ספריה הקודמים – בשקיקה. הקדשתי לו לילה שלם, באין יכולת להפסיק … מהפך דפים. אולם הפעם, נוסף על היקסמותי מן הקריאה, ביעבע בי רגש זר ומוזר – הזוועה. כי הספר הזה מבוסס על אירועים אמיתיים ומסמרי שיער שהתרחשו בתוככי משפחה ירושלמית, שילדיה עונו בידי חסידיה של כת דתית, ובידיעתה ובהסכמתה של האם.

שטן בירושלים

סלונה וואו איזה ספר מדהים! קשה ומצמרר אבל מעניין ואי אפשר להפסיק לקרוא. התחלתי אתמול ולא הצלחתי להרדם !בלילה, סיימתי היום עם עיניים דומעות. ספר מרתק

7 ערוץ

סיפורה של נעמי רגן שטן בירושלים, נפתח בתיאור הגעת הילדים לבית החולים כשהטיפול שהם מקבלים אינו מלווה בדאגה אימהית קונבנציונלית. האם מתעקשת להסתיר דבר מה ולטעון כי מדובר בתאונות בית שגרתיות. חקירת משטרה נפתחת בעניין ומכאן הסיפור מתחיל לשעוט בשל התיאורים הקשים התלבטתי האם להמליץ על הספר, אך דומני כי מי שעוסק באזהרה מכת כזו או אחרת הצצות בכל פעם במקום אחר בארץ, יסכים כי חשיבותו של הספר רבה מכדי להתעלם ממנו