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.


Close Encounter

The other day, instead of reaching for my contact lens conditioning solution, I reached for my contact lens cleaning solution, thereby giving my eye a walloping dose of akyl ether sulfate. My next stop after the emergency room of Hadassah Hospital and the local pharmacy for a variety of expensive eye drops, was my local health fund, where I attempted to at least get some relief for my pocketbook, if not for my dignity. In order to get reimbursed for the drugs, I needed the medical secretary’s stamp of approval.

I sat before a pleasant-looking religious matron in a flowing brown wig. “Is that Reegan or Ragen ?” she asked with great interest.

“Ragen. Just like the former president of the United States,” I assured her.

“Why…it couldn’t be…might I ask…you’re not the writer of all those books, are you?”

“Yes,” I replied meekly, hoping this wasn’t going to cost me my stamp of approval for all those expensive eye drops.

“Oh, I’ve really wanted to sit down and talk to you for quite some time,” she said emphatically, shaking her head. “I’ve wanted to ask you…. I’ve never read any of your books, but I’ve heard about them from friends. They say they are very well written. But the subject… I mean, I’ve wanted to ask you…if it’s not too personal ,I mean, this is your own spiritual sphere, a very private place, I realize, but I’ve wanted in any case to ask you if you didn’t think it might possibly be a desecration of G-d’s name?”

“I’d really love to talk to you about my books,” I replied sincerely. “I mean, I’m willing to spend a few hours with you. But I can’t really discuss my books with you, if you haven’t read them….

“But…!” she interrupted.

“And it’s not enough to hear what your friends and neighbors think…You’d have to read them yourself.”

“But … can I just ask you something?”

“Sure,” I said pleasantly, watching her roll that stamp between her fingers.

“Doesn’t it bother you that people say those kinds of things about your books?”

“Well, I’ll tell you. What bothers me is that people in the secular world look at the haredi world and see all the bad things going on there. And let’s face it, there are a lot if bad things…

She nodded thoughtfully, agreeing.

“To me, the real desecration of G-d’s name is that people are doing these things, not that I’m writing about them. At least when people read my books, they understand that there are some wonderful haredi families, along with all the bad people that are there. I also make it clear that the problem isn’t our religion, it’s the way people falsify it and trample it. And my last book, The Ghost of Hannah Mendes, is about secular Jews coming closer to their religion and their history…You really should read one of my books.”

“Maybe I will… but I wanted to ask you…a favor. I’ve written a book. Would you read it?”

I looked at her again. A writer! How wonderful! I thought.

“I think that’s great. But you should never let another writer read your work. Why not give it to a publisher?”

“I let Keter read it. They loved it, but they said it wasn’t personal enough. But how can I write personal things, intimate things? ”

“If you want your book to be worth anything, you have to! Write it under a pen name. There’s a woman who’s the wife of an important haredi Rabbi that writes under the name Chana Bat Shachar. She’s published a number of award-winning books. Some of them quite erotic. Even her husband doesn’t know it’s her…”

“What do you say!?”

“And even with publicity, she keeps her identity secret. She and I were once interviewed with two other religious women writers and she insisted the newspaper not take her picture or use her real name. And they honored that..”

“What do you say!” By this time she’d taken my papers and stamped everything. “So you think I should be honest, tell everything…?”

“That’s what it means to be a writer. Also, it’s the only way to cleanse the world. To correct it. Open it up. Let the light of truth shine in.”

She beamed at me. I felt like hugging her.

“Good luck,” I said.

“Good luck to you. You’re eye, I mean. And I’ll think about what you said…I enjoyed our talk.”

“I did too,” I said, thinking about the strange ways G-d has in getting people together. I hope she goes home to her typewriter and pulls out all the stops. That’s a book I’d love to read!

Comments are closed.