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.

Subscribe to Naomi's Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to Naomi's blog.

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.

Nic Nie MówMay 2017 – The Polish translation of Devil in Jerusalem is published as Nic Nie Mów.

April 2017 – Naomi speaks about her books at the Ivan M. Stettenham Library at the Streicker Centre in New York City.

March 2017 – Naomi tours the Paris region to speak 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 2016Les Soeurs Weiss, the French translation of The Sisters Weiss, is published.

October 2016The 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.


Achieving Jewish Unity: Fighting Our Real Enemies

I was watching the American talk show “Ricki Lake” the other day. The hostess, a plump Jewish girl with a good heart, was trying to reform young haters by letting them spend the day with the object of their venom. And so a homophobic teenager was partnered with a young lesbian, etc. In the good old American way, the two found mutual understanding. But then Ricki brought on a sixteen year-old skinhead in army boots, who coolly told the audience the Holocaust never happened – there weren’t even six million Jews in Europe to begin with. That the Jewish religion teaches hatred toward gentiles. “They call us goyim,” he told a rapt studio audience. “ The Jews are poison,” he ranted, “ they’ve brought down every great civilization: Babylonia, Rome…”

He went on and on. A little Himmler. What interested and appalled me was the reaction of the audience. There was no booing, just an interested silence. Ricki kept shaking her head to let them know that this was all appalling, but they didn’t seem to get it. If he had been saying the same things about blacks, for example, I think they wouldn’t have needed that prompting. Anyhow, Ricki brought out a mother and daughter –  blonde blue-eyed, as American as apple pie – who said they were Jewish and who invited Mr. NeoNazi to spend the day in their home. “How can you hate me, you don’t even know me? “ the sweet young girl reasoned with him. He looked at her squarely in the face and told her he most certainly did; she was from an evil race that was polluting mankind.

Needless to say, the invitation to dinner was quickly rescinded. So Ricki tried sending this fellow to the Holocaust Museum in Washington with a psychologist. The result was that the psychologist came back in tears, while Mr. Adolph Junior came back with even less hair declaring it was all lies. And even if some of the parasites got exterminated, what was wrong with that?

Why am I telling you this? Because it frightened me. Because I had no idea what kind of inroads have been made in the United States with reviving the old poison of irrational Jew-hatred. And because we Jews have to stop fighting with each other and turn our attention to our real enemies.

How are we going to do this? Some think it’s with expensive brochures that urge us to “all ride in the carpool lane to Redemption” together. I can actually see how that could work in sunny areas where the worst problem of the Jewish community, when it finishes dealing with assimilation, abusive marriages, drugs and alcohol, is what size to build the new pool at the JCC.

We Jews who live here in Israel, however, have a bit harder time with unity. Because in addition to lots of sunshine, we have Hamas blowing up buses, a draft that swallows our eighteen year olds and spits them out as front line soldiers. A real shortage of cash for the unemployed and the handicapped. And so when certain members of our family here refuse to work, or go to the army; refuse even to show polite respect for those killed in action by standing still and shutting up during a national moment of silence on memorial day; when these same people arrange exemptions from municipal taxes, and housing subsidies, and monthly stipends for themselves because they’ve chosen a lifestyle that doesn’t include employment, we find it difficult to sing along with our arms around their shoulders, swaying to and fro around the campfire.

And its not just the religious right that’s divisive. We here get upset when the municipality puts obscene sculptures on our streets with tax money for some half-baked cultural festival. When secular culture offers up bars and drug parties as places of entertainment for our young; and when public committees send flakes waving Syrian flags to represent Israel in song contests.

Jewish unity is a wonderful goal. But to reach it we first have to have truth, because you can’t fix anything if you don’t admit it’s broken. What’s best in the Jewish people can triumph, but first we have to have awareness of what’s worst. We have to make it clear that certain behavior is over the line, and those who continue to walk backwards stepping on toes to the tune of their own drummer, can do so unsupported by the rest of the family.

Because the truth is, there is already great unity among us. It exists between the majority of secular and religious elements of the Jewish people who respect religious and national traditions, serve in the army, ascribe to the work ethic, and cherish the peace initiative. But the more we fear to confront and reject the disruptive extremist elements, the more they will divide and destroy us, leaving us too weak to fight Mr. Skinhead and his dangerous friends.

Comments are closed.