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.

Subscribe to Naomi's Blog

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

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 - is a chilling tale of the paths that so easily lead us astray, and the darkness within us all. “שטן
Click the book’s cover to learn more.

Watch Valérie Abécasis' interview with Naomi on French Channel 24's Culture program. The interview (in French) begins at the 4:00 minute mark.

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.

Nic Nie MówMay 2017 – The Polish translation of Devil in Jerusalem is published as Nic Nie Mów.

April 2017 – Naomi speaks about her books at the Ivan M. Stettenham Library at the Streicker Centre in New York City.

March 2017 – Naomi tours the Paris region to speak about her new book Les Soeurs Weiss, the French translation of The Sisters Weiss.

January 2017 – Naomi is interviewed by Valérie Abécasis on French Channel 24‘s Culture program. The interview (in French) begins at the 4:00 minute mark.

“LesDecember 2016Les Soeurs Weiss, the French translation of The Sisters Weiss, is published.

October 2016The 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 Sarah 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.


Debunking Barack Obama

In an election year, we need to be really careful about what we send out and what we say about all candidates who might become the next leader of the free world. But we also need to arm ourselves with information.

I was very interested in the e-mail circulating quoting Newsweek and Snopes about the “lies” being spread about Mr. Obama. I investigated. Interestingly, the debunkers debunk all kinds of things I never heard of, like Obama not saying the Pledge of Allegiance, or using a Koran instead of a Bible in his swearing in ceremony. I never even heard those, and I am glad to hear they are lies.

But there are a number of other things circulating that haven’t yet been “debunked” and these are far more worrying because they are true. Like the fact that Mr. Obama’s church gave an award to the notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan. As Richard Cohen wrote in the Washington Post on January 15, “Barack Obama is a member of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. Its minister, and Obama’s spiritual adviser, is the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In 1982, the church launched Trumpet Newsmagazine; Wright’s daughters serve as publisher and executive editor. Every year, the magazine makes awards in various categories. Last year, it gave the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to a man it said ‘truly epitomized greatness.’ That man was Louis Farrakhan.”

Huh?! Say what? You mean the Farrakhan who said “The real anti-Semites are those who came out of Europe and settled in Palestine, and now they call themselves the true Jews, when in fact, they converted to Judaism,” as Farrakhan told Al Jazeera on March 18, 2007. The Farrakhan who said in a Swing magazine interview: “Until Jews apologize for their hand in that ugly slave trade; and until the Jewish rabbis and the Talmudic scholars that made up the Hamitic myth – that we were the children of Ham, doomed and cursed to be hewers of wood and drawers of water – apologize, then I have nothing to apologize for.” Or as he said in the Mosque Maryam, Chicago, 3/19/95,

“German Jews financed Hitler right here in America… International bankers financed Hitler and poor Jews died while big Jews were at the root of what you call the Holocaust… Little Jews died while big Jews made money. Little Jews [were] being turned into soap while big Jews washed themselves with it. Jews [were] playing violin, Jews [were] playing music, while other Jews [were] marching into the gas chambers…”

I suggest you Google Farrakhan, ADL or Nation of Islam and see some of the other things Mr. Farrakhan has said.

And yet, the man who would be president has a spiritual leader who has applauded Farrakhan’s “depth of analysis when it comes to the racial ills of this nation.” He praised “his integrity and honesty.” He called him “an unforgettable force, a catalyst for change and a religious leader who is sincere about his faith and his purpose.” As Mr. Cohen wrote in the Washington Post, “These are the words of a man who prayed with Obama just before the Illinois senator announced his run for the presidency. Will he pray with him just before his inaugural?”

Now, Mr. Obama is no dummy. Following the Cohen outing of this information in the Washington Post, Obama’s aides issued the following statement on his behalf: “I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan. I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree.”

Yes, Mr. Obama distanced himself. Even Mr. Farrakhan understands why. As Farrakhan said recently on ABC’s Nightline, “I like him very much. … He has a fresh approach… If avoiding me would help him to become president, I’d be glad to stay in the background.”

Jews like Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation Committee are forgiving. “When someone close to a political figure shows sympathy and support for an individual who makes his name espousing bigotry, that political figure needs to distance himself from that decision. Senator Obama has done just that.”

Well bully for Mr. Foxman! Having been in a suicide bombing attack which killed people – many of them Holocaust survivors and their children and grandchildren- at a Passover Seder in 2002, I’m a little less warm-hearted and forgiving. If I had a Rabbi, for example, who publicly supported and honored a despicable racist, I’d change shuls. Mr. Obama’s distancing himself, even during a political campaign, has not included either changing churches or spiritual leaders. In light of this, the fact that Mr. Obama’s father and step-father were both Muslim, and that he spent part of his childhood in a Muslim school in Indonesia perhaps should begin to concern us. Yes, indeed, depsite the fact that CNN (which we all know has tremendous credibility) has taken great pains to put our minds at rest by visiting this school, assuring us that it is not a medrassa that educates suicide bombers.

But honestly, all this wouldn’t be enough for me to dismiss the very articulate and charismatic Mr. Obama if he wasn’t consistently exhibiting worrisome, non-debunkable evidence that he is neither a friend either of Israel, or the Jewish people.

And please spare me the letter from the token Jew who “met him and spoke to him and is completely convinced he is a friend of Israel” blah, blah.

Actions speak louder than words.

As reported in the New York Sun, Mr. Obama has chosen Zbigniew Brzezenski to advise him on Mideast policy, sending this anti-Israel, anti-Semite, in the words of one of my list members, “this dinosaur resuscitated from the Jimmy Carter administration, a man who spent over 30 years attacking Israel, an Arabist who recently signed a letter demanding that Israel negotiate with the terrorist group Hamas, and a defender of the notorious Walt-Mearsheimer ideology that Israel and Jews have too much influence on American foreign policy against the interests of the U.S. ” to …Syria!? What, to negotiate a new peace plan?

A list-member writes: “While the terror rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel are leading up to another major conflict in that region, the Democratic Party, party headed by Sen. Barack Obama, continues its support for the “besieged” Palestinians. In a talk in Iowa, given by the contender for his party’s presidential nomination, Obama called the Palestinian people “the most oppressed people on Earth.” Of course, the implication was that the Israelis were the oppressors. Also, please take note that he recently stated to Paris Match (Jan. 31) that if elected, he would, “organize a summit in the Muslim world with all the heads of state, to have an honest discussion about ways to bridge the gap that grows between Muslims and the West. I want to ask them to join our fight against terrorism. We must listen to their concerns.” Yes, that’s what the world really needs, to “listen to the concerns” of Muslims.

Unfortunately, Obama is not alone. Recently, Dennis Kucinich and 10 other Democratic House members sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calling on the United States to exert its “influence to urge Israel to end its blockade of Gaza.” They claimed the human rights of the Palestinians were being violated by Israel. As a list-member writes,  “As a former ‘Jewish umbilical-cord Democrat’, I wonder how my fellow Jews could still consider themselves Democrats knowing the anti-Israel bias of their party?”

The Jews who are considering voting for Obama (or Clinton) should be doing a lot more research. Even if they don’t care if Israel is wiped off the map, do you really want a man whose Church gives out awards to people like Louis Farrakhan? Do you want a man whose volunteers sit under Che Guevara posters (according to the picture shown on KRIV-TV in Texas)?

How many times can a voter turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?

If I’ve made a mistake, please debunk me. Until then, I guess I’ll have to believe what I see. Just a reminder: I am a U.S. citizen who pays taxes and I have every right to express my opinion on candidates running in an election in which I plan to vote. I don’t mind telling you that it won’t be for Barack Obama.

Comments are closed.