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.


From My Home in Jerusalem

From my home in Jerusalem, I took a walk today. I passed the flowering gardens of Yemin Moshe, bright with orange and yellow blooms all along the block. I saw an Arab father helping his little boy onto the swings in Liberty Bell Gardens, and a little further down, I saw a class of forty haredi boys gathered together on the grass to have a picnic. As I passed the Great Jerusalem Synagogue, where both my son and my daughter got married, I saw a growing number of soldiers gathering by the entrance for some instruction, or ceremony. And as I walked further, I saw a group of high-level officers – lieutenants, colonels, and two–star generals – gathered on the crosswalk going towards the same place.

When I reached the center of town, I saw the hustle and bustle of Jews preparing for the coming Yom Kippur holidays – buying clothes, or food, or decorations for the sukkah on the Feast of Tabernacles. I saw a young couple with two little girls pushing a carriage as both girls skipped beside them, not a care in the world, in this peaceful little city, our little, beautiful Jerusalem, blessed by so many prayers, so many sacrifices, so many tears, so many triumphs of hope over despair, victories over defeats.

We sat together, my husband and I, in Big Apple Pizza, with its scenes from New York, my birthplace and father’s house that we had left behind after our wedding almost forty-seven years ago. The pizza was hot and delicious, the drinks icy cold. And the weather, a lovely warm Indian summer day that is with us in Jerusalem often until the middle of December, wafted over us with its perfect, cooling breeze.

It was so lovely, we decided not to take a bus back home, but to walk. We passed a police car blocking the road, but walked on past it, hoping it wasn’t because they were checking out a bomb. We walked past the walls of the Old City, joining a pastor with his wife and children, his clerical collar giving him away; and a haredi father with a little blonde boy with long payot flying in the wind as he sat on the bicycle seat in front of his father, a look of pure ecstasy lighting up his beautiful little face. And then down the path leading

through Park Teddy, and again past the houses of Yemin Moshe, past the lively markets and restaurants of HaTachana HaRishona (the First Station). We walked over the wooden boards of Park Hamisilah, through the trees and green grass, taking time to rest on a bench in the shade near the outdoor free library, where we chose a book to take home with us.

And I thought as I reached home, how lucky I am to live in this beautiful city! What an honor, what a joy!

But before I could end this article and tell you all to come and see for yourself, my husband walked into my office.

“There was a terrorist attack today.”

My mouth fell open. “Where?”

“Here, in Jerusalem, at the light rail station near French Hill. Two people are dead. The police had arrested the terrorist, but hadn’t asked for him to be held in jail until the trial. So he was walking around free.”

From my home in Jerusalem, I will look up the details. I will mourn the deaths of the 29 year-old decorated police officer who just got married, and the retired 60 year-old former Knesset employee, who were both going about their innocent daily lives in Jerusalem when they were shot and killed. I will gnash my teeth that the perpetrator, a known terror member from East Jerusalem who was to begin serving a sentence for attacking a police officer today, wasn’t kept in custody, but allowed to roam by a benevolent court who granted his appeal for a postponement.

My feet are weary, but my heart is strong, reminded why we Jews will continue to fight, to build, to rejoice that Jerusalem is once again our home. Nothing they can do will ever change that. Nothing. Our love for our city will defeat their murderous hatred. Because this isn’t Europe. This is the Jewish State of Israel, built by survivors, persecuted, murdered, hated and lied to. Our past has made us wise, and wary, and strong enough to face the truth without blinking. From my home in Jerusalem, my eyes are open wide to the complexity of our existence, the depth of our joys, the bitterness of our failures.

May the God of Israel who gave us this land bless us and look down upon kindly in the coming year.


13 comments to From My Home in Jerusalem

  • Frank

    Just been to a lecture about the First Crusades. The the extortion from and then the slaughter of Rhineland and other Jews who were ‘in the way’ and then the calculated mass slaughter, over three days, of almost all the Muslim and Jewish inhabitants of Jerusalem were discussed.
    The link with Naomi’s article? The terrorist incident reflects the views of so many – then, now and many times in between!
    The Jerusalem massacre was the first large scale ‘industrialised’ deliberate mass slaughter, but sadly not the last. There are those who would like to do it again.

  • Rostislav

    Ah, the happy feeling of walking thru’ peaceful Jerusalem streets is familiar, indeed, to so many generations of its inhabitants and visitors, though these wonderful streets were terrorized more than often since the times immemorial. But the judges, who, in fact, are joining hands with murderous terrorists, are something entirely new and entirely unhappy. It’s just too bad, whatever may be exclaimed by the omnipresent defenders of the terrorists’ holy “rights”.

  • Naomi Romm

    The beauty, the sadness and yet the hope all come together in this wonderful post. Thank you dear friend. Gmar Hatima Tova to you and family.

  • Fern Kurland

    Dear Naomi, G’mar chatimah tovah. My best wishes to you and those you love.
    Am Yisrael Chai.

  • Ed


    I get it….

    Cousin Eddie

  • Mickey Davis

    A cause for joy and a reason for tears, Jerusalem, our beloved homeland. In my life there is nothing I would want more than to move to Israel but circumstances preclude that from happening. People tell me it’s dangerous to live there. I tell them: “If I die at least I will be buried among MY people.” God bless you and gmar chatima tova!

  • Dalya Horowitz

    Beautifully written – the highs and the lows the triumph and the tragedy that is Jerusalem and the Jewish people.

  • Ethel Schwartz Bock

    What a sad ending to a beautiful day that we shared with you.
    After the latest disclosure about Trump, are you still going to vote for him? I hope not.
    Ethel Schwartz Bock

  • vicki

    Excuse me, Ralph, but it looks like you may have misspelled and by that, badly changed a word in your last comment.
    Naomi,I only wish and pray that my tears could somehow lessen the heartbreak for the people of Ha Shem in Israel. It won’t be long………..

  • Abe

    Is this the beginning of a new novel you are writing ? I know the legal system in most countries is corrupt, but this is ridiculous.

  • Cheryl Jacobs Lewin

    The newest murderer should have never been allowed out of prison. How many times will the courts and govt. of Israel keep repeating the same insane and dangerous actions?

  • Ralph

    My heart breaks for Israel. My heart breaks everytime I hear one of us showing empathy with our killers and most of all my heart breaks when Jews and anyone else doesn’t understand that Israel is the only Jewish nation on earth which represents survival. Israel is the natural homeland of a people so depraved throughout written history.

    May Hashem shine upon the righteous amongst humanity.

    Am Yisroel Chai.

  • susan cohen

    I was just in Israel in March of 2016, we also walked the streets of Talipot.I was hoping that this attach of innocent lives was over. Thank God none of this happened while we were there. Jerusalem is a lovely city, the changes we saw since my last visit was beautiful. The contrast between the old and the new was unbelievable. Dispite what these murders who hate us we will always be God’s chosen ones we will survive. Our people survived the horrors of the Shoah.
    Anyways I wish you and your family a Shana Tovah, may you be blessed with a long and healthy live or I should say be inscribed in the Book of Life.

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