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.


The People I Live Amongst

I once lived in what shall remain an unnamed city in the Western world, in which one of the most prominent organizations was called: Parents of Murdered Children. In this place, the kidnapping and molestation and murder of children was endemic, so much so that I wouldn’t let my children go out of the house alone. Ever.

In this city, a woman’s car once broke down on the highway. Within ten minutes, a car picked her up, and she was subsequently raped and murdered. And I wondered: What kind of people live in this place that within a ten minute period a rapist-murderer would be passing by?

And now I live in a place where all around me, every minute of the day, in every part of this land, there is a hidden saint and hero.

I want to start with the latest story, the story of Noam in Otniel. Otniel is a yeshiva in which boys add two years to their regular army service so that they can continue their religious studies. My son went there. And his friends. And the son of one of my neighbors, a remarkable young man, the kind that regularly visits a family because they lost one of their sons in the army. And now he visits them, and comforts them, every week. People he didn’t know.

Last weekend in Otniel, the boys went home for Shabbat, and the yeshiva was open to visitors. Friday night. The white tablecloths. A hundred boys wearing knitted skullcaps just returned from Sabbath prayers. They formed a circle and danced, waiting for the first course of the Sabbath meal to be served. In the kitchen, Gabriel,17, Tvika, 18, Yehuda 20, and Noam 23, were getting the first course on to the serving plates.

Outside, two terrorists, members of the Islamic Jihad organization, cut the useless wire fence around the yeshiva, and entered the kitchen wearing IDF army uniforms and toting M 16’s, 12 rounds of ammunition, and ten hand grenades. They started shooting immediately. Under fire, Noam Apfter ran towards the door separating the kitchen from the dining room where a hundred unsuspecting young boys were welcoming the Sabbath. Wounded, with his last strength, he locked both locks and threw the key away. He locked himself in with the terrorists, and locked them out from harming his fellow students.

Noam Apfter paid for this act of heroism with his life. He, and the other three boys were murdered by the terrorists.

Now, I don’t know if I can explain this to you, those of you who have never been in a terrorist attack. Faced with such harm, every single fibre of your being screams to open the door and escape. To think of others in such a situation is remarkable. To deliberately lock yourself in with terrorists to save others, is beyond my capacity to understand. It takes a large soul, and more courage than is given to any human being.

These are the people I live amongst:

Shlomo Harel: who pushed a suicide bomber to the ground when he tried to explode himself in a Jerusalem coffee shop, pinning his arms to the floor.

Mikhail Sarkisov, 31, a new immigrant from Turkmenistan, living in a trailer with no bathroom or refrigerator, who as a guard on Tel Aviv’s beachfront Cafe Tayelet, armed with a fake pistol, threw himself bodily on a suicide bomber to prevent him from detonating, saving dozens of lives.

Rami Mahmoud Mahameed, 17, a young Arab Israeli, who asked a suicide bomber waiting at a bus stop for his cell phone, and calmly called the police, who prevented the bomber from boarding a bus, but not from exploding. Rami was badly injured.

Eli Federman, who, guarding a Tel Aviv disco, faced the speeding car of a suicide bomber heading straight for him, and the club, and coolly fired, blowing up the car before it could enter.

Bus driver Baruch Neuman, who got off the bus to check a passenger who had fallen trying to board the bus from the back, only to find he was wired. He and another passenger held the bomber’s hands down until the rest of the bus passengers could flee to safety.

Others who paid for their heroism with their lives include Yossef Twitto, head of the response team in Itamar, who ran to save a family whose home had been entered by terrorists, terrorists who killed three sisters and brothers, wounded another two, before killing Yossef Twitto.

Mordechai Tomer, 19, who stopped a car from going into downtown Jerusalem and was blown up.

Tamir Matan, who helped stop a suicide bomber in a gas station from entering a busy cafeteria. He and two young soldiers who helped him, were blown up.

This is the face of Israel. These are the people I live amongst. I live among them humbly, knowing that in any place, or time, in a random ten minute period, there are heroes cruising around, ready to give their precious lives for mine.

This is our human landscape, what the land of Israel, its values, its education, its mothers and fathers, have produced. This land, and its people.

God bless them and keep them.

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