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.

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 - 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.

Subscribe to Naomi's Blog

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

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.

October 2016 - The 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 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.


Bullets Outside, Corruption Inside

While the people of Israel are reeling from one bus bombing, drive-by shooting, and negotiating nightmare to another, the members of Israel’s Knesset are busy capitalizing on our distractions by passing one corrupt law after another. For example, when the recent wave of Arab killings began a few months ago, the haredi parties gleefully passed a law raising all the money coming out of government coffers for large families, a law meant to benefit haredim and Arabs.

And when the time came due to change the automatic exemption from army duty for yeshiva students, Knesset Members happily passed a law extending the exemption, thus postponing, if not canceling, any meaningful debate on the legitimacy of allowing Israeli citizens to use their religious beliefs as a draft dodge.

And now, this week, the crowning blasphemy of what is known as “Deri’s Law,” was ushered through a successful second vote in the depleted ranks of the Knesset. Proposed by that do-nothing, has-been-who–never-was Ruby Rivlin (what has this man ever done?) of the Likud, the law reduces the sentences of rapists, murders, robbers, and child molesters (among others) by half, instead of the present one-third. For “good behavior.”

While the Likud proposed the law and supported it, it was, of course, members of the Shas party who were the vanguard. With black kippot on their head, and minyans three times a day, and a bible in every corner, they are attempting to turn the already revolving door of our prison system into a sliding door that doesn’t have time to close before it opens again to let out the nation’s criminals.

Imagine it, Benny Sela, the Tel Aviv rapist who tortured, beat, and raped dozens of little girls and women ,terrorizing an entire city for months, could be back in Tel Aviv in fifteen or so years- courtesy of Shas and the Likud.

Before the scandalous and unconscionable law came up for a vote, parents of murdered children wandered fruitlessly through the corridors of the Knesset begging Knesset members to vote against it. As reported in Yediot Acharonot, bereaved mother, Ora Baraz, whose daughter was murdered, pleaded for the law’s defeat: “It is an immoral law that shows the callous attitude of the State towards the victims of violence. For fifty years this country has been passing laws to improve the rights and conditions for criminals, while the victims and their families have been ignored. Now rapists, child molesters,and thieves will wander among us in droves.”

But these heartfelt words apparently fell on deaf ears. Knesset members like Dalia Itzik, Avraham Burg, Benjamin Ben Eliezer and Roni Milo — very vocal friends of jailed former Minister of the Interior and power behind Shas, Aryeh Deri decided not to show up to vote against the law tailor-made to help their friend, a convicted bribe-taker and felon, avoid serving even a fraction of his jail term.

As we sit here on the eve of a fateful election, it is heartbreaking that the people of Israel now face a choice between Ehud Barak, who has allowed our security to become so lax that the only current Israeli response to terrorism is to die; and Ariel Sharon, whose party has aligned itself with criminals and ruthless opportunists like Shas, in passing laws that bring us all closer to living in a corrupt banana republic.

As we weep for the terrible days behind us, and the even more devastating days ahead if we continue in the direction we’re going, we should weep loudest for the bankruptcy of the entire political leadership of this country as it continues to fail the people of Israel on every front: political, moral, and spiritual.

We had a dream, all of us, those who were born on the kibbutzim in 1948, and those who flocked to the little Jewish state in all the years since then: we dreamt of building a beautiful little haven for the remnants of the Jewish people, wherever they lived. We would be the flower of 3,500 years of Jewish prayer, learning, poetry, Talmudic law, Bible study. We would plant fruit trees, and reap harvests in green fields. We would work with our own hands to build safe homes for every Jew from every land; we would banish fear, and want, and injustice from our peoples’ history.

We would be here together, no outsiders, all children of the same father, all equal. We would find our way back to our roots, deepen our understanding and our practice of the moral law that made us a special nation, that was our gift to the world.

Israel, 2001. What a mess it’s all become. What a shattered dream. But I still believe. The Israeli people are depressed. They are not listening, their attention elsewhere, in the bullets that are flying, the buses exploding. We need to focus.

And when the “Deri Law” comes up for it’s third and final vote before becoming law, we have to let our politicians know that “Deri’s Law” for the encouragement of crime, has no place in our country, or in our dream.

Comments are closed.