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.


Getting Up to Dance

Something just snapped in me the last two weeks.

It was an accumulation of horror, I suppose. For the first time in the last thousand days of horrors since Arafat decided to show these idiot peacemakers his true colors, I couldn’t watch them put the bodies into body bags in the center of Jerusalem. Couldn’t watch the reporters interview the victims in the hospital. Couldn’t listen to the politicians say what politicians always say… I turned off the television. Stopped reading newspapers.

But of course, information trickled through. The seven year old girl shot in the head in her parents’ car on Israel’s main highway on her way home to Haifa. Briefly, flipping by CNN, catching their description of it as a “shooting of a settler in the West Bank.” And then someone e-mailed me the news about the American father killed a day after his son’s wedding…

I felt something weaken when I heard that. But I suppose it was the information that I read online from Maariv: that Colin Powell had transferred $300 million directly to Muhammad Dahlan, Abu Mazen’s “security chief” (responsible for blowing the legs off children in Kfar Darom in a terrorist bus attack) to buy equipment to “fight terrorism” that finally tore my heart in two.

According to security sources quoted in the article, the Americans were giving Dahlan three months to prove himself. How many weapons could be purchased, how many suicide belts, how many terrorist cells rebuilt, re-staffed, in three months, with $300 million?

I never thought much about the phrase, to “tear your hair out.” Until I sat down and wanted to do just that.

The interesting thing, though, about falling apart, is that you can’t. Not really. I’d promised my grandson’s teacher I’d come to Rechovot and give the fourth graders a lecture on literature. So I washed out my red eyes, put on a nice linen suit, and went to Rechovot.

There I was, led down to the bomb shelter which serves as a meeting room in my grandson’s State religious school. There I was, in a sweltering room faced with the beautiful little faces of Israeli ten year olds. Little girls with ponytails and shining eyes; exquisite Ethiopians, little Russian blondes, big, lively boys… And here I was, and they were all looking at me. Suddenly, I forgot about everything else.

I suddenly didn’t want to disappoint or bore them. I wanted, suddenly, to tell them how, in second grade, I had a wonderful teacher who showed me the joys of expressing your imagination on paper. I would tell them about the joy of writing, and reading and being published.

In the heat of an Israeli summer, those fifty kids and I forgot about the world around us, and talked about the future, where each one would be free to learn, create, and perhaps even publish. They asked a million questions, and suddenly I found my heart whole again, if not quite uncracked.

A day later, I went to the Bat Mitzvah celebration for the daughter of good friends. Sitting next to me was a woman who’d lost her wonderful son in the army only six months ago, defending the State of Israel. She was surrounded by her other children. And when the music began, she was the first one to get up and dance. She danced with the mother of the Bat Mitzvah girl, and the girl herself, stepping to the Jewish music as the stars shone above us in Jerusalem’s hills, twinkling as they do, night after night, as they did during the battle for Jericho when we Jews came out of the desert to claim our inheritance.

Twinkling as they did above the Holocaust survivors in 1948, when they came straight from concentration camps to give their lives to build a Jewish State. Twinkling above the heads of the fourth graders in Rechovot as they dreamed of becoming artists and writers, and policemen and dancers in the Land of Israel, when they grow up… when they grow up, safe, and well, and beautiful, into Israeli adults.

And as I saw her dancing, I felt a few more cracks begin to heal. And I too, got up, to dance.

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