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.

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.


Beautiful Young Faces

The morning after two young boys out walking in the clean air of Judea, were taken, their skulls smashed, their bright, young faces crushed with stones so that even their mothers could not recognize them; the morning after that happened, I took a bus to downtown Jerusalem.

I sat there. The voice of the radio blared. It was an Israeli newscaster interviewing someone. I was in the back of the bus, and all I heard was the word “peace”. Again and again, questions began and ended. Peace, peace, peace. While Yasir Arafat hadn’t condemned the boys’ deaths, an interviewer or interviewee pointed out, (a leftist Israeli politician? A leftist reporter? Who can say? And, frankly, who cares?) one of his deputies had.

Yes, I thought. A real humanist, to condemn that.

The bus was one of the older, smaller ones Egged has replaced recently and so it was crowded. Many bearded men holding holy books. Many religious women in their modest clothing reading Psalms. I watched them, the way their lips moved over the words, silently, in that bus, as the reporter talked and talked and talked of peace. Outside, a strange rain began to fall. Rain in May, unheard of in Israel. It rolled down the face of the glass in large, uneven drops.

A bus pulled up beside us filled with children on their way to school. From the blue, long-sleeved shirts I could see they were from Beit Yaakov, a haredi girls seminary. And there were boys too. Young boys in payot who pressed their faces against the glass. They were so beautiful, those faces — animated, expressive — as they chatted over notebooks or recited passages from prayer books.

Beautiful, young faces. And I thought of the journey we were taking together, this morning, the morning after two young Jewish boys out walking were found in a cave, their faces smashed by adults who had come upon them by chance, as they strolled, playing hooky from school, having an adventure.

When I returned home, I turned on the CNN broadcast. It was surprisingly subdued and even-handed. Pictures of the boys when they still had faces. The funerals. And then, the pictures of a Palestinian baby, injured, they said (admitting it was denied) by Israeli tank fire.

It hurts me to see an injured baby. Any injured child. But it is not the same, not the same. A child injured in the middle of a battle, is not the same as two young boys out for a stroll overpowered by adults, who see who they are, who grab them, because they have adult strength and these are only children. Grab them and smash their skulls and take away their faces.

There is no symmetry here, none at all. Children on your side, children on ours, these people, our enemies, the enemies of all mankind, all civilized, good-hearted people, try to say. Children sent to crematoria, children killed in the Allied bombing of Berlin. Not the same, not the same, to fire at the enemy and accidentally injure a child, and to grab a child’s young arms, hold him down and smash his skull with so many rocks it takes several men hours to bury them, the blood- stained rocks.

Not the same. No symmetry. You know what you are doing, and it is not an act of self-defense. You know what you are doing, and the world knows who you are, whatever your ideological cover.

I shut off the television and my son came down. He is a year older then the boys who were out taking a stroll. But like them. Knitted skullcap. Beautiful young face. My son, my son.

He took out his guitar and began to play, and I watched him. I watched his face.

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