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

CNN’s Day of Disaster

In my innocence, I tuned into CNN today at 12:15 Israeli time (in case Rick Davis would like to double-check the facts I’m going to give now). To my incredulous shock and horror, I found myself viewing 15 minutes of uninterrupted propaganda by Mr. Yasir Arafat himself, and that’s just the part I saw — I came in late. Who knows how long it had been going on before I tuned in?

Now, those of you who aren’t familiar with air time, 15 –20 minutes or more is what a network news program devotes to the outbreak of World War II. To the bombing of Pearl Harbor. To the inaugural speech of the President of the United States.

To what did Mr. Arafat owe this unprecedented amount of air-time to share his views with the world? A self-declared Palestinian Disaster Day, which we Israelis know as the day after the People’s Council, headed by David Ben Gurion, read Israel’s proclamation of independence. A little history here, which CNN didn’t supply its viewers.

The proclamation followed a vote by the U.N. which put an end to the disastrous British mandate over Palestine, which had British soldiers rounding up Holocaust survivors and putting them back into concentration camps ; a vote that called for the division of the country into two independent states, Jewish and Arab, that were to live together in peace, side by side.

On the morrow of the U.N. vote, Arab violence broke out all over the country, as Palestinians absolutely rejected the U.N. proposals. They encouraged Palestinians to leave the country and thus get out of the way as they prepared to invade and slaughter the local Jewish population of a million Jews. The fact that they didn’t succeed, that they lost the war, is what they consider a disaster. That’s their Disaster Day rationale.

Excuse me if I as a Jew and an Israeli, don’t consider not having my country destroyed and my brethren slaughtered a disaster for anyone, even the poor Palestinians… How anyone could view the prevention of such potential tragedy as a reason to mourn is beyond me. While I can see why the Palestinians –- who lost- – don’t want to send up fireworks, why CNN — which as a news organization, should be taking sides here one way or the other, deciding to adopt the Palestinian view, presenting this day an important landmark to the world, including the entire, hateful rhetoric of Mr. Arafat as if it were the Gettysburg Address, in effect taking sides, is beyond me.

It’s sick.

The whole time Mr. Arafat was speaking and having his pearls of wisdom rendered into barely intelligible English by a person with an Arabic accent so thick you could cut with a knife, a little mark in the upper left hand of my screen made me understand that this was the official broadcast of some Arab news agency (PLO broadcasts? Direct from Mr. Assad? Who knows?).

Actually, if I hadn’t seen those three little letters that by now turn our stomachs with ease (one of them is not thank you, nor is it please) I wouldn’t have known CNN was actually involved at all: it would have been just one more Palestinian Propaganda Program, the same kind that shows staged chemical attacks and actors in IDF uniforms raping hapless young Arab women.

All the while Mr. Arafat was speaking, CNN had the helpful headline below his name to let us know what the story was. “The Palestinians have tried to live with the Israelis in peace.”

Well, I must have blinked when that happened. Was it before or after we signed Oslo? Before or after they started blowing us up in our homes and buses? Before or after they started shooting our babies in their carriages, exploding our schoolchildren in their buses, our women in the marketplace? Before or after they exploded mortar shells into the homes of Kfar Darom and fired into the apartment buildings of Gilo in central Jerusalem? Before or after they destroyed Joseph’s Tomb, and threw rocks down at worshippers at the Western Wall? Before or after they started training their three year olds to wear uniforms and blow themselves up as holy martyrs?

Before or after they used their children as a live barrier to protect their rock-throwing rabble and trigger-happy, bomb-throwing, gun-crazy police force? Before or after they reneged on, ignored, abrogated and broke every single word in the Oslo Accords, including the words “and” and “the”?

Before, or after?

Well, after Mr. Arafat had had his twenty minutes (I repeat, I have no idea how long this unbelievable rambling piece of sleazy propaganda went on) CNN switched to Jerusalem where, not content to let the viewer interpret Mr. Arafat’s speech, they asked CNN’s Jerold Kessel, to add insult to injury by “interpreting” the speech to viewers. He was impressed, Mr. Kessel. Oh yes, mightily impressed with this “powerful” flow of words. Steadfast, he said. Mr. Arafat had repeated that word again and again.

Funny, I wouldn’t have used those words to describe Mr. Arafat’s speech.

If CNN had an independent- thinking person listening, I think the words that would have come to mind would have been “tired,” “cliché-ridden,” the typical language of Arab extremism. Holy land, holy places. Rights. Every buzz word in the I-Love-Islam and Palestinian dictionary.

But they couldn’t have very well admitted that now, could they? Because then how would CNN have explained why they gave twenty-plus minutes of air-time to an unedited version of this sorry spectacle? How could they have explained its “newsworthiness?” Mr. Arafat is not, after all, a head of state. He’s not the elected head of anything. At present, he is simply the head of a gang of terrorists and gunmen and rabble who kill at will (the Arab journalist from Beit Jalla, Mr. Samir is still missing, last seen at PLO police headquarters)

Arafat is a man who has pocketed millions from gullible European governments donated to the Palestinians and instead of building his hapless people factories, housing and hospitals, he’s bought weapons and fattened private Swiss bank accounts for himself and his cronies. How can CNN rationally explain why they gave such a man unprecedented airtime to air his fanatic and primitive views to the world?

Reason, I suppose has nothing to do with it. The Saudis could probably tell us much more about the reasoning. And if not, them, I give up. Because if someone isn’t paying CNN off to behave this way, if they are doing it innocently, then their journalistic training and instincts have atrophied and they have become an irredeemable and hopeless laughingstock, the sleaziest yellow journalists known yet in the Western democracies.

CNN, what you did today passes all boundaries of decency, good sense, and ethics. CNN, you’ve sunk about as low as you can go. I will never again believe a word you say about anything. Not even the weather. And for those who work for you producing, directing and deciding on what airs, if you have any self-respect left, update your resumes.

I hear the National Enquirer is hiring.

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