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.

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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 - is a chilling tale of the paths that so easily lead us astray, and the darkness within us all. “שטן
Click the book’s cover to learn more.


Watch Valérie Abécasis' interview with Naomi on French Channel 24's Culture program. The interview (in French) begins at the 4:00 minute mark.





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.


March 2017 - Naomi spoke in the Paris region about her new book Les Soeurs Weiss, the French translation of The Sisters Weiss.
January 2017 - Naomi is interviewed by Valérie Abécasis on French Channel 24's Culture program. The interview (in French) begins at the 4:00 minute mark.
“LesDecember 2016 - Les Soeurs Weiss, the French translation of The Sisters Weiss, is published.
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 Sarah 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.

Categories

Sieg Heil, the Alt Right and medium.com

People are sending me information about Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute conference in Washington D.C. They are neo-Nazis. They raise their hands in a Nazi salute and say Sieg Heil. They say they love Trump.

You know what? Maybe in their warped minds they think he’ll be good for them. Yeah, that’s what the Left, some of whom really do support Muslim-Nazi terrorists, would love you to think. They are idiots- the Sieg Heilers- and dead wrong.

So, for the record, this is the current narrative that the mainstream media is using to attack …

…continue reading Sieg Heil, the Alt Right and medium.com

The Lev Tahor Cult Exposed (Again)

Some of you might have heard about the cult pretending to be devout Jews called “Lev Tahor,” wanted all over the world for child abuse and forcing young underage girls into marriages with much older men.

The prestigious magazine Foreign Policy has published an eye-opening article about the cult that reads like my latest novel, Devil in Jerusalem, which is also about a dangerous cult pretending to be super-devout Jews.

You can read the article here (no subscription required).

Those seeking holiness, beware!

Protest The Outrageous Leniency of the Barry Freundel Verdict

All he wanted was to see women naked. Lots of men are like that. Hence the tsunami of internet porn. The difference is, he was a Rabbi, and instead of watching anonymous women who enjoy showing off their bodies, he was secretly taping his married congregants, candidates for conversion, and young college students as they showered and purified themselves in his synagogue’s ritual bath, many doing so at his demand as their religious mentor as they struggled to complete their conversion.

Much has been written and much said about the Barry Freundel scandal. Freundel, who was …

…continue reading Protest The Outrageous Leniency of the Barry Freundel Verdict

Religious Experience or Cult?

Perhaps because we live in the Holy Land, the idea of closeness to our Maker, and adherence to His will, is commonplace even among the most secular Israeli, particularly around Rosh Hashana, when Israelis from all backgrounds and religious levels turn their hearts and minds toward the idea of spiritual growth and healing, trying to find their way to a more intimate relationship with their God.

This longing for a purer life, has, unfortunately, given rise to a vast number of psychopathic and criminal gurus, ranging from completely secular to ultra-Orthodox, who prey on the most …

…continue reading Religious Experience or Cult?

“I Want to Serve, but …”

Go Get Yourself Killed

Fear of ostracism—not lack of conviction—prevents some haredi men from enlisting.

A day before the haredi “million man march” called to protest the new drafting of yeshiva students, I sat in my synagogue in Jerusalem’s German Colony as Rabbi Benny Lau got up to speak. This rabbi is no stranger to the haredi world; he is the nephew of the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Meir Lau, and cousin to the present Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, David Lau. But the congregation was not surprised to hear him lash out with vehemence against the planned protest. Calling it …

…continue reading “I Want to Serve, but …”

The Ultra-Orthodox’s PR Problem

The cultural divide in Israel between haredi and secular Jews has reached new extremes. In December, haredi men spat upon a terrified eight-year-old girl, Naama Margolese, as she made her way to a haredi-opposed national religious girls school in Beit Shemesh — a school the haredim claimed was purposely and provocatively zoned on land in their neighborhood. A few days later, a female soldier riding up front in a bus in Ramat Eshkol was verbally attacked by a haredi father of ten who called her a “whore.” She replied that she was protecting him. He responded …

…continue reading The Ultra-Orthodox’s PR Problem

Fed Up

Encouraged by my own uneventful ride on a once sex-segregated bus a few months ago, I thought the whole topic was dying down and we were miraculously learning to live and let live. Unfortunately, the story of Tanya Rosenblit has brought the reality of bullying fanaticism masquerading as religious piety roaring back into the headlines again, with greater force than ever.

Traveling to the Givat Shaul neighborhood in Jerusalem from her home in Ashdod, she’d boarded the 451 Egged bus from Rova 7 in Ashdod, which would leave her a five-minute walk from her destination. Innocently, …

…continue reading Fed Up

A Modest Proposal

Who or what is convincing apparently non-mentally-ill religious Jewish women to parade around like human laundry baskets? I am referring to the phenomenon of the “Taliban women” recently condemned and lambasted by the Eda Haredit (Badatz) for ironically being a little too modest, even for them.

In the beginning, there was one woman in Beit Shemesh (where else?) who decided to cover her head and face with a shawl. Since she herself was indicted and convicted of child abuse, and her children admitted to engaging in incest, one would think it unlikely she’d engender a following.

…continue reading A Modest Proposal

Time to Extend Israeli Law to Meah Shearim

A woman is caught on tape detaching the feeding tube from her starving three-year old in Hadassah Hospital, after years of bringing the child in with unexplained medical conditions and bodily injuries. She is arrested by authorities for child endangerment and jailed. In response, her community backs her up, burns property and assaults police and social workers.

This story makes no sense until you add that the woman is haredi, a member of Neturei Karta sect in Jerusalem’s Meah Shearim.

As citizens of Israel look on in astonishment today as the streets of its capital are …

…continue reading Time to Extend Israeli Law to Meah Shearim

I Am Not Sitting at the Back of the Bus

Published in the Jewish Chronicle on 23 February 2007

In July 2004, after spending too much time sitting behind a computer, I took a walk in downtown Jerusalem. I bought Vanity Fair magazine, and looked forward to reading about the goings on at a famous writers’ colony. In this serene state of mind, I boarded the number 40 bus towards my home in the suburb of Ramot.

In an incident which made headlines worldwide, I found myself insulted, humiliated and physically threatened because I refused to be bullied into giving up my seat and moving …

…continue reading I Am Not Sitting at the Back of the Bus

Rachel’s Story – The Rabbinic Court’s Pathetic Verdict

Friends,

I have more news about Rachel S. The Rabbinical Court of Jerusalem has handed down its final decision in her case.

Just a reminder, they were ruling on the suggestion of the social worker that she be allowed to send letters to her children. After ten years.

This is what the rabbis decided (emphasis added by me, NR):

[START OF COURT DECISION]

Rabbi Yissochor Dov Heiger Rabbi Binyomin Levi Rabbi Mordechai Toledano 9 October 2005

The Court has heard the decision of the social worker Ruth E. and the reaction of the father. We also …

…continue reading Rachel’s Story – The Rabbinic Court’s Pathetic Verdict

Rachel’s Story

On Sunday, I went to Israel’s Supreme Court to listen to the wisdom of the highest judges in Israel concerning the case of Rachel S. (there’s a partial gag order, thus the initial), the woman on whom I based my play, Women’s Minyan.

Rachel, who was married to an admitted adulterer in Chasidic Rabbi’s clothing, a man who not only cheated on her but abused her, has been shunned, harassed, physically threatened, intimidated, and made miserable ever since she walked out on him twelve years ago. But the worst punishment she received — which by the …

…continue reading Rachel’s Story

Egged and the Taliban

I can’t remember the last time I took a bus in Jerusalem.

But Monday morning, in the throes of a new exercise regimen, I found myself walking down Strauss Street and, as luck would have it, the number 40 bus stopped right in front of me. It’s the bus with the shortest route to my home in Ramot, a neighborhood divided between secular, modern Orthodox, and haredi inhabitants.

The bus was empty when I got on. Completely empty. So I paid my fare, got my receipt, and chose a single seat near the front.

I was …

…continue reading Egged and the Taliban