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

Et Tu, Oprah?

I am a 55-year-old white, middle-class American woman; wife, mother, grandmother. I am one of the loyal fans who have made Oprah Winfrey the queen of American television, and a successful magazine magnate. I am special in only one respect: I have lived in Jerusalem for the past 35 years, and only narrowly escaped the Passover Massacre together with my family in 2002.

During the killing spree that was known as the Intifada, we Israelis found nothing more infuriating than the insidious line taken in interview after predictable interview by BBC and CNN that terrorists were motivated by hopelessness or poverty, brought about by the victims.

With 9/11, sympathy for terrorists waned, as well as belief in the theory that terrorist victims had it coming.

David France’s recent article on Yusra Abdu, a Nablus teenager who confessed to volunteering to enact a suicide bombing inside Israel, was shocking on several counts. First, its subject matter: the “love” story between the head of the Marxist terrorist group, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) which rejected Oslo and all peace initiatives, and the 17-year-old girl who sought him out and attempted to win his heart by batting her “velvety eyes” at him and declaring her willingness to be a suicide bomber.

The second count is the venue: How did this inaccurate and obviously politically biased piece of bad journalism find its way into O magazine among the diet tips and $195 Prada sunglasses? Among the tips for living a better, kinder, more involved life?

As a fan of Oprah’s and a subscriber to her magazine, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Part of a commendable Women and Girls at Risk series exposing dangers to women in other countries, the Yusra Abdu piece would have fit right in except for one huge problem: the writer, who falls all over himself trying not to figure out who and what has put Abdu and other Palestinian women at risk.

France attempts to go the route of hopelessness and poverty. But he is stymied.

Her parents describe Yusra as a “wonderfully frivolous” teenager. And he has no choice but to admit that her closets are overflowing with clothes, and her walls full of posters of pop stars. A “happy girl with an optimistic smile.” All this, of course, happened under Israeli occupation. But readers would never know it.

From the context of France’s piece, the trouble began with the withdrawal of Israeli troops after Oslo, who were replaced by Arafat’s security police. According to Israeli security, Nablus has provided more homicide bombers than any other Palestinian city.

Terrorist groups ran rampant, so that a well-known killer like 24-year-old Hani Akad, bomb expert and Nablus head of the DFLP – which once blew up Arab students in the Old City and set off a bomb next door to a nursery school in Talpiot – was left to ply his trade unhindered.

According to France’s own report, Yusra went to him offering herself as a suicide bomber. France tells us it was her way of flirting. And then France says something else which is really revealing. “They didn’t date. Hani couldn’t date.”

What he doesn’t tell American women is why, which perhaps more than anything else is the crux of this story: Because a date would have compromised Yusra’s honor and she might have found herself getting her throat slit by her brother or father. Is it any wonder that, as France himself writes, she confessed to Israeli security police that the real reason she wanted to blow herself up was “boredom?”

Glaringly, France ignores completely the constant and unrelenting incitement to terror by the religious, cultural and educational systems in place in the Palestinian Authority. Like a spanking new sixth-grade text book called Reading the Koran which selectively quotes from the Koran such gems as: ” Oh you who are Jews if you think you are favored by Allah then pray for death.”

France goes another route, seeking to explain the desire for terror by describing the brutality of the Israeli army. Paraphrasing a report by Amnesty International, he makes the outrageous charge that “both sides target minors.”

Amnesty, which has had a true credibility gap in the past few years concerning its coverage of human rights abuses by Palestinians, makes the following statement in its 2004 report, which is not judged worthy of inclusion by France: “Palestinian terror groups have repeatedly shown total disregard for the most fundamental of human rights notably the right to life, by deliberately targeting Israeli civilians and by using children who are susceptible to recruitment.”

Trying to turn the story of Yusra and Hani into a love story, France encounters numerous obstacles. He can think of no explanation, for example, why after accepting Hani’s proposal, Yusra approaches Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades and offers once again to blow herself up. Not very complimentary to her “freedom fighter” with the M-16 and the “fiery glance and dimpled cheeks.”

Also, in his attempt to paint Hani the terrorist in heroic colors by revealing how he tried to talk his fiancée out of “taking revenge on Israelis,” France omits one very pertinent fact: Hours after Hani was killed, two female Palestinian students, Aadala Goavra, 21, and Lina Goavra, 22, gave themselves up to Israeli security forces. The pair had been recruited and equipped by Hani, a specialist in explosion devices passed on to operatives, to blow themselves up in Tel Aviv.

What a guy! What a story!

And what, in heaven’s name, is Oprah Winfrey thinking?

Champion of the underdog, patron saint of the downtrodden and depressed and overweight, why has she allowed her reputation and her magazine’s to be sullied by this sordid attempt at terrorist white-washing?

Millions of American women who get their information about vital subjects like terrorism that affect us all, are now all women at risk.

1 comment to Et Tu, Oprah?

  • goldie

    I have never been to Israel. I so want to go there, but I am also so afraid to travel there now.
    I know that the news coverage does not show all thinkg that are going on now. I am concerned about all the unrest that is happening daily.
    What are your suggestions.
    Thank you.
    G-d bless.

    Goldie Golden