I found myself at the Kotel, or Western Wall, yesterday. Even though I live within walking distance of this profoundly moving site, the holiest in all Judaism, I don’t actually go very often. But a Bar Mitzvah invitation from American friends saw us get up early and walk through the Old City.
We took a shortcut through the Arab souk, deserted and a bit eerie so early in the morning. I was glad when we reached the turnoff to the security area leading to the Kotel. To my surprise, extra guards were stationed before the …
…continue reading Shrieking at the Kotel
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!
What happens when rabbis prey on people’s need for holiness?
The wave broke slowly. First, one woman from a close-knit National Religious community in Safed approached the town’s chief rabbi, Shmuel Eliyahu, son of Israel’s former Sephardic chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, describing how the charismatic rabbinical head of her community, a man credited with “magical powers,” had raped her. Over the next month, more than ten women came forward. Their stories were shockingly similar: When they sought rabbinical counseling on marital and fertility issues, their rabbi/counselor advised them to submit to sexual acts with him.
…continue reading An Abuse of Sacred Trust
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
Even if I don’t have the guts to let the whole, sordid truth hang out, perhaps incidentally my books have encouraged others to do so. If that is true, then I am glad.
I received a letter the other day from a reader. As with all respectful letters I receive from readers, I read it in its entirety and answered it. Because I don’t have permission to reveal the author’s name, let’s just call her Chava from Brooklyn:
I just finished reading your latest novel, The Sisters Weiss. While I enjoyed parts of it, …
…continue reading Mirror, mirror
Friends, here is a report from Friday’s English language edition of Haaretz, Israel’s most respected newspaper, explaining what the Supreme Court ruling in my favor really means.
Writer Ragen vindicated in plagiarism court deal by Maya Sela
A compromise agreement that represented an almost total victory for best-selling author Naomi Ragen was reached in the Supreme Court copyright violation suit against her. Then Jerusalem District Court Judge Joseph Shapira [now State Comptroller] had found in favor of author Sarah Shapiro, ruling that Ragen had violated Shapiro’s copyright. Ragen then appealed to the Supreme Court.
On Wednesday, …
…continue reading Naomi Ragen Vindicated in “Almost Total Victory”
Yesterday I went to the Supreme Court of Israel with the hope that finally justice would be done and District Court Judge Yosef Shapira’s insulting, ugly, and false judgment against me for copyright infringement (which he called “literary theft” – something which simply does not exist) would be overturned, as was his previous judgment against me in another case.
I had hardly entered the courtroom when Chief Justices Naor, Chayot and Hendel immediately suggested throwing out Judge Shapira’s judgment, calling it “problematic,” and requiring my accuser Sarah Shapiro to pay back all the money she’d received …
…continue reading Naomi Ragen Wins A Second Plagiarism Suit in the Supreme Court
To find a partner in life, to take care of them, put up with them, become one with them during a long, eventful marriage in which both of you are tested to the limits of your being, is to be shown the true mirror of your own character.
The other night, quite belatedly I admit, I watched the 2001 movie “Prozac Nation,” based on the 1994 bestseller by Elizabeth Wurtzel. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that a pointless tale about a mean-spirited, completely self-absorbed brat with an excuse note from her parents (yes, yes, …
…continue reading The Joys of the Grown-Up Life
The time has come for a courageous, widely based consensus of truly pious rabbinical scholars to reassert their leadership in instituting halakhic changes to address the needs crying out to be met in Jewish law and custom of our own miraculous age in all walks of Orthodox life.
My path to Orthodoxy was unorthodox, and that has made all the difference, I think, in what I hope for and expect as part of Orthodox Jewry.
I was the child of an American-born mother from a religious home and an immigrant father whose family had fled …
…continue reading Finding Orthodoxy
No, 103 years sounds like a good number to me. As Esther’s brother pointed out: “If my sister lives to be 120, that’s about the same number of years she’ll have to live with what he’s done to her.”
On Tuesday, January 22, Justice John G. Ingram of New York’s State Supreme Court sentenced convicted child molester Nechemya Weberman to 103 years behind bars for 59 counts of sexual abuse against a little girl sent to him by her school, the UTA Satmar, for religious counseling. In passing sentence, the judge praised the young victim for …
…continue reading Crime and Punishment
While Weberman is behind bars, many are still unnamed and continue to destroy the souls of young boys and girls because of a conspiracy of silence surrounding rabbinical sexual misconduct.
The case was horrific. A 17-year-old girl from the Satmar community in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn testified that she was forced by her school to attend “counseling sessions” from age 12 to 15 because she wore stockings that were too thin and asked too many questions about God. Instead of religious mentoring, three times a week she found herself behind a thrice-locked door with a …
…continue reading No More Room Under the Carpet
I leave my comfort zone and accept an aliyah for the first time.
While the media persistently shout out fear-mongering headlines about the rise of fanaticism among Orthodox Jews, be it Jewish women in burkas, black-suited draft dodgers or bearded vigilantes herding women to the back of the bus, the truth is, something good is happening in Orthodoxy.
It’s not making headlines, and it’s not moving along at a breakneck pace, but rather, slowly and quietly, Orthodox Jewry is asserting its will to foster more gender equality in ritual and greater tolerance for diversity of opinion …
…continue reading An Orthodox Woman on the Bima
“The film was enough to make your blood boil. Bearded hassidim talking about how it was God’s will to spit on little girls who didn’t follow the dress code.”
“No woman should wait to hear the last kaddish for the obvious reason that women should make their exit before the men, lest they mingle with them… No woman aged less than forty should attend the synagogue for the afternoon and evening services…whether on a weekday or on the Sabbath, with the exception of the New Year and the Day of Atonement.” New regulations in Beit Shemesh? …
…continue reading The Tipping Point
“I have finally received some measure of belated justice, and I would like to believe that more will come.”
Last week, after five long years of my being dragged through the courts, defamed, libeled and slandered, Israel’s Supreme Court issued a ruling in the Michal Tal case that stated: “There is not and never was any basis whatsoever for any claim of plagiarism or copyright infringement brought against Naomi Ragen in the Jerusalem District Court.”
Far from a mere technical victory, this ruling was an acknowledgement by Tal’s own children, one of whom is a lawyer, …
…continue reading Bleak House – The Sordid Story of the Michal Tal Case
Dr. Michael Factor is an expert in intellectual property law in Israel. He has a blog in which he writes about cases involving copyright infringement. He has just read all 92 pages of the recent judgment against me in the Sarah Shapiro case, and has posted his conclusions, which are very favorable to me. Thank you Michael!
Dr. Factor has confirmed what I have believed all along, that I have done nothing wrong, and given me hope that I will ultimately prevail in this case, as I prevailed in the Michal Tal case.
From Dr. Factor’s …
…continue reading More About “Copyright Infringement”
בית המשפט העליון קיבל ביום 3/1/2012 את בקשתה של הסופרת נעמי רגן למתן פסק דין, לאחר שבית המשפט המחוזי בירושלים מחק את התביעה בעקבות מותה של התובעת, מיכל טל ז”ל.
פסק הדין, שאושר השבוע ע”י בית המשפט העליון (כב’ הנשיאה בייניש , כב’ השופט גרוניס וכב’ השופטת ארבל) דחה את התביעה ,וקבע כי “אין ולא היה כל יסוד לטענה כלשהי בדבר ביצוע של “העתקות” ו”הפרות” זכויות יוצרים אשר הועלו בתביעה כנגד גב’ רגן בביהמ”ש המחוזי”.
בפברואר 2007, שלח עו”ד גלעד קורינאלדי בית המשפט העליון קבע שהסופרת נעמי רגן לא העתיקה