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.

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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.

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.


Count Me Out, Rabbi Porush

We see it all the time. The secular talk show host invites the haredi guest – usually Rabbi Porush, Benizri or Ravitz – and what ensues is a strange dialogue in which the real issue is never actually discussed.

And whatever the trigger, the issue is always the same: the huge monetary burden of supporting a population whose philosophy permits them to marry and raise families blessed with 10, 12 or even 20 children, but does not permit them to work and support themselves.

This time, the trigger was the insolent, almost unbelievable demand of haredi MKs to receive huge sums for their yeshivot, their pet projects (a million shekels for a campaign to encourage Sabbath observance!) and their cronies’ non-profit associations (amutot), in exchange for their votes to assure that the country actually has a budget for 1999.

This time the talk show host was Gabi Gazit, on Channel 2’s The Morning Show; the guest: Rabbi Porush of United Torah Judaism. The exchange went something like this:

Gazit: Do you think that when Moses took the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, he had this in mind?

Porush: What do you mean? It’s all the same game. Likud, Labor – in the end they always come to us, the dati’im [religious], and ask for our support. This centrist party, they’ll do the same. You’ll see.

Gazit: And do you think that this is right, this robbery of the nation’s money?

Porush (aggressively, shamelessly): What robbery? And they didn’t give the kibbutzim NIS 15 billion? There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of that. Until you make a law that the dati’im are second-class citizens, that you’re allowed to take the milk from my child’s cup, we have the same constitutional right as everyone else to ask for funding.

Gazit (taken aback): No one is talking about taking milk from your child’s cup!

And that’s where the argument, as usual, ended. With a commercial break.

And with Rabbi Porush – or Rabbi Benizri, or Rabbi Ravitz – smiling into the cameras, getting into their chauffeur-driven cars and laughing all the way to the bank.

As one who is no less religiously committed than Rabbi Porush and his followers, I resent his appropriation of the word dati’im to describe whom he is championing when he robs our country blind.

Don’t include me, Rabbi Porush. I don’t ask for this money, I don’t need it.

The truth is, that you’re putting your hand into my pocket, and the pockets of most dati’im, stealing our hard-earned money – and the milk in our children’s cups – when we, like all tax-paying Israelis, pay 50% of everything we earn to support you and your cronies in your indolent “holy” lifestyle.

In a recent survey of Jerusalem’s population, it was found that 80% of the heads of haredi households are unemployed by choice. Eighty percent! What Rabbi Porush and his ilk don’t seem to understand or care, is that when they rob the till, they are taking milk from the cups of the children of those who are not unemployed by choice: people in development towns, the crippled, the sick, the weakest segments of our population.

If our country, which is small and not rich, has to support thousands and thousands of able-bodied men who are too holy to work, then someone’s milk cup has to be emptied.

And since the unemployed, the mentally ill, the autistic, and the crippled don’t have strong political parties, or a government willing to fight their battles, I guess they’ll have no choice but to forget about milk and drink water.

That is, until they can’t afford to pay their water bills. And then, Rabbi Porush can look at them and say: What, no water? Then let them drink kiddush wine!

So please, Rabbi Porush: Don’t use the word dati’im to describe your constituency.

Because most of us who fit that description are mortified to be included in any agenda you represent.

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