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.


My Evening with Sarah and Bibi

When I was invited to join the Prime Minister at his home in Jerusalem, along with other members of the English-speaking community in Israel, I expected to find myself in a large auditorium in which I would need binoculars to see Benjamin Netanyahu. To my surprise, the room was an outdoor space that could accommodate no more than fifty, with chairs arranged in an intimate circle, with a small table in the front.

The Prime Minister entered and to everyone’s complete astonishment, he went around the room, warmly shaking everyone’s hands, nodding to those he had met before. While he started out behind the small table, he soon had two armchairs brought in and joined the circle. The mystery of armchair number two was solved when to our surprise his wife Sarah joined him, smiling graciously.

I was surprised at how small she was. Dressed casually in a smart outfit of black pants, a checked top, and a black sweater, she looked tired, which is no wonder considering that she has been put through the wringer in what must be the lowest political campaign tactics I have ever witnessed in Israel.

What haven’t they accused her of? Bringing back bottles to the grocery and keeping the deposit (right, like with a full time job as a child psychologist, and the First Lady of Israel, she’s got time for that….), making her staff come back at midnight to wish her goodnight, and many more “crimes” of that ilk. This stuff has been going on for years. While people are always ready to believe the worst, even the most gullible of Israeli voters is beginning to smell a rat. If you can’t talk about your agenda, and your track record, and your achievements, and your ideas, then attack the most vulnerable of targets, a wife and mother whose only crime is being the married to the country’s leader. If you hurt her, you hurt him.

Unfortunately, that’s only too true. But we are the real losers.

With the head of the free world AWOL for the last six and a half years bowing to the Saudis, making an ass of himself in Cairo, and destroying America’s economy while he plays golf, Benjamin Netanyahu has been heroically cast as the world leader standing up to the world-shattering dangers of a nuclear Iran. Anything that hurts and weakens him, hurts and weakens the firmest wall of resistance to the Kool Aid being dished out to the masses regarding an “agreement” with Iran to halt its rush towards becoming a nuclear-industrial power that threatens every single, man, woman and child on Planet Earth.

While he was at the end of a long day by the time he joined us, Prime Minister Netanyahu began his talk with vigor and determination. “We are witnessing the collapse of the Middle East as we know it,” he told us. “Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen are gone.” Iran, on the rise, has already taken over parts of Yemen and is supplying arms to Lebanon. “In ten to twelve years, Iran will be a nuclear industrial power, and the greatest threat to the future of our world.”

Seventy years ago, he reminded us, we didn’t have the ability to speak out. Now we have a country, a government and an army. We have the ability to make ourselves heard. It would be an everlasting crime not to raise our voices against this existential threat which is “a mortal threat to our survival.” I am, he said with particular passion, “firmly committed to preventing it.” The negotiations with Iran, even if successful, will still allow Iran its stockpile of enriched uranium. With all the negotiations, Iran hasn’t budged. The only progress has been the West abandoning its opposition and moving towards Iran’s stance.

In answer to a question about negotiations with the Palestinians, he said with refreshing clarity that “any land handed over to the Palestinians has been given over to militant Islamist. We saw it with Lebanon, we saw it with Gaza.” The upcoming Israeli elections are vital. “If you want me as Prime Minister, you must vote for the Likud. A vote for any other party is a vote for the Left.”

This is true. Without a sweeping majority for his party, Netanyahu will not be able to form a government that will stand up against the failed policies of Leftists, responsible for numerous disasters in the last decade which saw us and our children blown up in buses, hotels, and bar mitzvahs. The delusional architects of “Oslo” and its “land for peace” idea that has been discredited again and again and again.

Pitted against the usual range of Leftists like Herzog and the self-promoting, do-nothing Livni – whose only notable decision was the disastrous push to end the war against Hezbollah too early leaving them armed and dangerous to kill another day – it is hard to argue that it is vital that the Likud win big.

This is a hard pill for many. I myself don’t agree with all Likud policies. But as Mr. Netanyahu pointed out, as far as social programs are concerned, there is only money to improve the quality of life for Israeli citizens if we have a strong economy. He was instrumental in guiding Israel to an enviable economic status, with an unemployment rate the West can only dream about. He really has led the country away from disastrous socialist policies of previous Labor governments, to a thriving entrepreneurial “start-up nation” that is being studied and envied all over the world.

Israel has benefited. There are new roads being built everywhere to make it possible for Israelis to live up north and down south and still be able to commute to work. He fought to free up public land for more housing and to move army bases and army industries from the center of the country to the Negev to free up space for residential housing.

As I listened to him speak, I felt so humbled, and sad really, that Benjamin Netanyahu, who has had to defy the most hostile American administration ever, a frothing United Nations filled with backwater terror-lovers and barbarians, a world-wide resurgence of lethal anti-Semitism, must also deal with a local population inexplicably swayed again and again by used car salesmen politicians hawking their discredit and broken down Leftist policies with a coat of fresh paint. Zionist Coalition? Who are they kidding? They won’t even agree to call Israel a Jewish State!

Mr. Netanyahu is flying to Washington to talk to Congress. He flew to France to march against terrorism and encourage French Jews to make aliyah. He presided over a terrible war against Gaza with success.

What else do we want the man to do?

I wanted to stand up and tell him to ignore his critics, that millions of people all over the world are proud that he is going to speak to Congress, to plead Israel’s case – the world’s case! – to force Iran, the most dangerous terrorist state since Nazi Germany, to give up its rush towards nuclear weapons. I wanted to tell him that the Israelis I know are appalled by the personal attacks made against him and his wife during this election campaign, the attempts to paint them as money-grubbing and living high on the hog (you should see the area of the Prime Minister’s official residence I saw: plastic curtains, plastic chairs, old woodwork…Turning it into a “palace” with public funds? Pul-leese.) We don’t believe a word, and if anything, we are going to vote Likud to spit in their faces. It’s called “backlash.”

The meeting ended with shocking informality. A woman from Zichron Yaakov got up and told the Prime Minister much of what I was too shy to say. To my astonishment, I could see the eyes of Sarah and Benjamin Netanyahu moisten at the warm words. He put his arm around his wife and hugged her.

It was so special, and yet so normal, being in that room, watching our Prime Minister in his penny loafers and off the rack suit, his grey hair greyer than I remember it. He is and was my hero. I will vote Likud and so should everyone else who wants to protect Israel’s children and her future.

14 comments to My Evening with Sarah and Bibi

  • emile harari

    It’s so sad to see our beloved USA sink so low under the leadership of
    Obama.His narcistic and childish behavior concerning Natanyahu speaks for itself.Not to mention his anti Israel position and his blatant support of the islamic caliphate and his friendship with their leaders Saudi arabia, turkey and Iran. .Natanyahu is the churchill of Israel.In my opinion he’s clearly the beacon that not only the USA should listen to, but the entire Judeo christian societies around the world.
    Thank you Naomi for sharing with us your visit to the natanyahus and GOD
    bless Natanyahu who’s a true leader and the exceptional hope to lead Israel
    for as long as he lives

  • JustAnotherOne

    If Israel doesn’t destroy Iran, Iran will destroy Israel.

  • Sandra Greenberg

    In this terrible and frightening time Israel needs strong leadership. This they have in Bibi.
    Israel needs him.

    Thanks to Naomi for her great writing.
    She always puts things in the right perspective.


  • Al Richter

    “With the head of the free world AWOL for the last six and a half years bowing to the Saudis, making an ass of himself in Cairo, and destroying America’s economy while he plays golf” HUH??? I loved the article, but you are scraping the bottom of the barrel with gross and inaccurate overstatements attacking Obama. Our economy is doing fine despite Republicans’ repeatedly trying to push our economy to the brink of disaster. Now they are threatening not to fund the office of Homeland Security unless Obama gives in to some demands about immigration reform! Naomi should stick to the subjects she knows best — Israel’s security and anti-Semitism threatening Jews everywhere in the world. By the way did it ever occur to those beating the war drums aagainst Iran that destroying Saddam Hussein, as evil as he was, removed the most potent force against the Islamist madness now engulfing the world? What a disaster that decision was! All the lives we lost and billions spent only to see Iraq now in the hands of Iranian sponsored thugs and ISIS. Wasn’t that a great idea?

  • Abe Himelstein

    When you are on top someone is always looking to stab you with daggers. Bibi Natenyaheu has withstand an enemy within his own country as well as others. He is the leader let’s respect him and give him the opportunity to help carry & deliver his mission. I admire his position when it comes to dealing with the leaders in America as well as other Countries. He will be coming to speak before our leaders in congress& hope that all sides will be there to listen to what he has to say.
    If I lived in Eretz Yisroel I would be behind him. Shalom Shalom v’ain Shalom.

  • Cheryl Jacobs Lewin

    Beautifully written. I had tears my eyes.

  • martin

    70years ago there was no one to speak for the Jewish people and millions were slaughtered; today Benjamin Netanyahu is the leader of Israel and the spokesman for Jews world wide. we must support him 100%. We must be thankful to have this brave outspoken leader!

  • Melogardener

    Wow God bless Israel and God Bless Bibi and Sarah. Mr Netanyahu is the brave and stalwart leader of the free world that has the depth of sight to see the truth and strength of character to stick to it and speak it out to the world. Because the left nutters choose to believe and propagandize the world with the lies of the Islamic world does not mean the whole world is drinking their foul poisened Kool Aid! There are many people who are friends of Israel in truth and fact. God Bless Israel and Her people who are truly Israeli Citizens that love her and as for her enemies the God of Israel said they will fall on Israels’ mountains when they attack you but they will fall and you precious people will be burying them once and for all for seven months. If I a stranger, who prays for your leader and your dear country believe your God meant He would gather His people from the four corners of the earth and He did create a Nation in a day then surely I believe also with you that He will protect and watch over you and will as Ezekiel says raise His sword against those that hate you and gather together to destroy you and your enemies shall themselves fall and be destroyed on the very mountains they wish to consume! God Bless you Naomi..appreciate your commentaries and emails.

  • Surak

    I don’t usually write in, but this was short, sweet, powerful, and convincing. Yes, there are many things that bother me, starting with the worst, the destruction of our irreplaceable, sacred artifacts from the Temple Mount; discrimination against Jewish worship on the Temple Mount; discrimination in application of the law to Jews living east of the green line; the release of terrorists who go on to murder again, etc. All of that said, Israel needs a strong nationalist government formed by Likud, hopefully with the partnership of Jewish Home, Yachad, etc.

    As for America, I can only apologize. My ethnically Jewish family members worship the Democrat party, the New York Times, NPR, MSNBC, CNN, etc. Every attempt to communicate reality to them, and the proximity of a second Holocaust, chas v’shalom, results in angry arguments. I always was confused about the contrast between Ishmael and Isaac, between Esav and Jacob, growing up in the same household, until now. Please G-d they will not cause the deaths of any more Israelis than they already have.

  • Glenn Miller

    Obama claiming he can’t meet with Bibi because he doesn’t want to interfere with the elections, has sent a 5 man “hit” team including his own campaign manager, Jeremy Bird, to try and oust Bibi.

  • Lynn Sharon

    I too had my questions and my doubts about the upcoming elections. It didn’t take a great deal of pre-election hypocrisy and total dishonesty, for me to wake up to reality. There isn’t one candidate that is equal to our present PM. There isn’t one candidate with any political vision, except their own personal vendettas and narrow agendas. Now all I can hope and pray is that P.M. Netanyahu will get a huge majority and will not be forced into creating an unworkable coalition. Let’s hope that my fellow Israelis realize that the anti-Zionist Left are now the Opposition.

  • Susan Marx

    To paraphrase the great poet Yehuda Halevi, I live in the West but my heart is in the East. I cannot vote, but wish that I could. Kudos to, and good luck to Prime Minister Netanyahu. He tells it like it is and does not mince his words when speaking to President Obama. May Netanyhu and Likud be victorious. The future of the State of Israel rests with him. Yashar Koach.

  • Wow thanks for sharing that wonderful meeting with the Prime Minister and his wife, Naomi. I can tell you there are millions of Americans who love and support PM Benjamin Netanyahu. I pray the people of Israel will follow your wisdom and vote Likud. As an American Jew, whenever BiBi gives one of his stirring speeches in America, I beam with pride and usually get goose bumps.
    God Bless you, Naomi and Prime Minister Netanyahu and all the people of Israel We love you!