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

Book of Lamentations

The Ninth of Av, anniversary of the destruction of the First and Second Temples, is traditionally a day of fasting and prayer and lamentation.  But never before have I felt it so deeply, or has its shadow fallen so heavily over my heart as I mourn not only events long past, but those overtaking us even as I type these words.

Even before the Sabbath was out, we gathered in the synagogue to recite the Book of Lamentations, which we do every year.  What frightening and heartbreaking relevance were in the words:

“Remember O Lord what is come upon us.

Behold, see our reproach.

Our inheritance is turned unto strangers, our houses unto aliens….Men said among the nations:

They shall no more sojourn here.”

I can’t help thinking of those sitting in their synagogues in Gush Katif for the very last time, knowing their houses of worship will be bulldozed by their own soldiers.

When I return home, I turn on the television, and the news broadcasts the open meeting of Hamas, all its leaders gathered together, all those who once trembled underground for fear of Israeli reprisals, now openly celebrating, declaring that the “retreat from Gaza” is to their credit, because of their acts; proof that their ways of terror are the right way.  And that they must continue…

Later we hear Abu Mazen say the same.  It’s a victory.  Next they will “liberate Jerusalem.”  In Gaza, the Palestinian celebrations have already begun.  Large inflated balloons in the shape of Kassam rockets grace their celebrations, to commemorate the 6,000 rockets that have fallen on Gush Katif, implying the residents are fleeing.

“All thine enemies have opened up their mouths wide against thee. They hiss and gnash their teeth. They say: We have swallowed her up; Certainly this is the day that we looked for; We have found it, we have seen it.”

President Bush grants an exclusive interview to an Israeli reporter, broadcast on Israeli television.  I listen to the smiling President talk about how the disengagement will now set the stage for the Palestinians to prove they can rule and defeat the terrorist groups in their midst.  And I think: Was this little strip of land, then, all that stood between the Palestinian Authority keeping its part of the Road Map, gathering up the arms of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and the El Aksa Martyrs Brigade, and a dozen more jihadi death squads?

Can any sane person really believe that?

This morning, I turn to the news page of YNet, and learn that the residents of Gush Katif are not planning to wait for the army to politely walk in and hand them eviction notices, telling them that after August 15, it will be against the law for any Jew to remain in Gush Katif.  There is talk of the government turning off gas and water supplies to the Gush.  Already army checkpoints have stopped supplies of food and medicine and diapers from coming through.  There is a shortage, and supermarket shelves are close to empty.  Our synagogue appeals to us to gather supplies to send them, for apparently that is still possible.

The residents aren’t planning to make it easy to for the army.  They plan to lock the gates of their communities, and sit in the roads to block the bulldozers and tanks.  I know for a fact that many people have already packed and left, but some of them couldn’t convince their older children to leave, their seventeen and twenty year-olds, who insist on staying behind to face those entrusted with carrying out the government’s orders to destroy the entire community and hand it over to the Palestinians.

I think of our young sons, our soldiers, sent in to face the determined settlers of Gush Katif, people who have withstood with unmatched bravery thousands of brutal terror attacks, people who will be sitting tired and hungry and thirsty on the dusty roads in the brutally sweltering heat of Gaza in a desperate attempt to ward off the destruction of their homes and communities.

I love them both.  I fear for them both.  I do not want to choose between them.

I think of the terrorist who opened fired in Kfar Darom last night, and how during the military operation ( which killed him) an errant tank shell critically injured a young officer and wounded four of his men.  I think of my people facing each other on this terrible day while in the background our enemies rejoice.

How, how has it come to this?

“She weeps into the night and her tears are on her cheeks.

Among all those who loved her, she has no comforter;

All her friends have betrayed her and become her enemies.”

I wipe away my own tears which fall for everyone in this, my beloved little country, caught up in this strange madness.

God help us through this and give us back our sanity.

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