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.


“The
Naomi's just-published 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.


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.

Categories

The House with the Red Geraniums

After eight long years of internal upheavals, including a assassination that tore the heart out of the country; after thousands and thousands of terrorist attacks that left hundreds of Israeli citizens dead, and thousands more injured, the Israeli government has issued a statement saying: “Yasir Arafat is no longer relevant.”

If the week that statement was made had not been so blood-soaked, it might almost have been laughable.

The assumption in which the entire Oslo Process began and operated, and continues to confuse the minds of a small, but significant minority, of Israelis, has been declared to be false.

The truth is: Arafat was never relevant, was never a partner to any process whose goal was peace and coexistence. Not now. Not then. Not ever.

And thus, the question that begs to be asked is this: What shall be done with those leaders who led the nation into this nightmarish swamp of murderous quicksand that swallowed so many of our young people, pulled down our tourist industry and our once-booming economy; that covered our national face with the filthy mud of propaganda lies, sapping our national confidence, our strength, our sense of national self-worth?

“Oslo Criminals to Judgment,” has long been a slogan of the far right, a bumper sticker phrase found in Nadia Matar country. But now that the failure of the Oslo Process has been acknowledged among all but the terminally delusional and those evangelical mystics of the hard-core left, (many of whom work for the Haaretz newspaper and continue to feed the foreign press) as well as Israel’s Foreign Ministry., I think the average citizen has the right to ask: What, in heaven’s name, was this whole thing all about?

I remember that memorable broadcast from the White House lawn. The forced handshake between Rabin and Yasir Arafat, embraced in the insistent arms of the movie-star handsome American president, who we were convinced loved us. And perhaps he did. After all, he loved his wife too. That didn’t stop him from betraying her again, and again and again.

I remember that nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach, the feeling that this was terribly wrong. That it was something I didn’t want to watch, a sickening betrayal. My children, especially my army-bound son, was angry at my lack of enthusiasm. “You’d rather send me into unnecessary battles?” he accused.

This shut me up. In general, the evangelical fervor of the “peace now” activists with their iron clad and ready answers to all criticism, branding all those opposed to them war-mongers, delegitamized valid concerns over the swiftness in which the “new concept” of terrorists as peace partners had been made. You were either for Oslo, or for war. “Don’t you want peace?” people who questioned giving out guns to the newly formed “Palestinian Police Force” made up of former members of terrorist cells, were asked accusingly. “Yes, there are risks,” the “peace” people would admit in their rare rational moments, “but Israel is strong. If it doesn’t work out, we can always move back into the West Bank and Gaza.”

Yes, they said. It was all reversible. Like those coats which were all the same, even if you wore them inside out.

The appeal was irresistible, and the Oslo proponents knew it. They dangled “Oslo peace” in front of a war-weary nation like a bottle of snake oil that could miraculously cure all problems, especially the insoluble ones, like the simple fact that the PLO refused to remove the destruction of Israel from their written charter.

But that didn’t bother Mr. Peres. Or Mr. Beilin. Or Yossi Sarid. It didn’t bother the members of Meretz, or members of the Labor Party like Chaim Ramon.

Some will say: No harm done. They tried. It didn’t work. You can’t punish a man for trying.

In her book, My Three Lives, survivor Gizel Berman writes of the train pulling into Auschwitz:: “Just beyond the platform was a charming white cottage with potted geraniums on the windowsill. Above it, a large sign proclaimed: Welcome to Auschwitz. Work Makes Free.”

What was the purpose of that cottage, that sign? Simply to confuse those about to disembark. To drain their will to protest, their natural instincts of self-preservation, by creating a comforting lie in which they desperately wanted to believe. In doing so, it drained their strength, making them weak and unready for the life and death struggle ahead. Making them easy prey.

Those that led us into the quagmire of Oslo, Mr. Peres, Mr. Beilin, and many, many others, did the same to the Jewish people in the land of Israel. It is a crime for which no court can punish them, and one for which they will never be forgiven. It is now time for all of them to leave the stage of public life to a richly-earned obscurity. They will no doubt spend the rest of their lives re-writing history to make themselves more attractive. But we, who have seen Arafat’s true face , won’t be reading what they have to say any time soon.

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