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

How We Live

This is how we live: last week I went to a memorial service for Eitan Newman, the young soldier blown up in his tank last year as he patrolled the dangerous Philadelphi road that separates Gaza from Egypt and weapons smugglers and terrorists.

Only a year ago, I paid a shiva call to his family. In the midst of her grief, his mother, Sara, asked me to tell this e-mail list to buy Israeli products, because the Israeli economy was hurting so badly. I was humbled by her request, and passed it on to you, and you responded with hundreds of heartfelt letters of condolence to Sara and her family.

The memorial was held at Himmelfarb, a religious boys’ high school where my son went. It was packed with Eitan’s family and friends, so many young men and women, many of them married and wheeling baby carriages. Those like myself, who had never met Eitan, spent the evening getting to know him, in what was a celebration of his short, beautiful life, a life filled with kindness and laughter and learning and giving. I looked at the videos of him and his friends –such a handsome, charming, clever boy. Beside me sat Esther Waxman, a friend of Sara’s, whose own soldier son was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists. She had come to participate in an evening that could not have been easy for her. She had come to remember Eitan with love. Not a word of hatred or revenge or politics was heard that evening. And we left feeling like family.

A few days later, I rode out to Gush Katif and spent an afternoon speaking with Roz and Paul, friends who are farmers in Netzar Chazani. They have eight kids, seven boys, five of whom are army officers. I sat in the house they’ve built, saw the lettuce they grow in sand that brings in so many export dollars, and spoke with them about how their government is planning to throw them out of their house and land come August in exchange for….nothing. They are filled with faith that it won’t happen. Filled with love and forgiveness for their fellow Jews, who they think are mistaken.

Last night I attended a wedding. The bride was the beautiful young daughter of friends. I didn’t know much about the handsome groom.

The wedding was held in an elegant hotel. It was special. The dancing was amazing. Then someone said to me:” I don’t know how she does it.”

“Who?” I asked, puzzled.

“The mother of the groom. You must know, her daughter and husband .. last year, Cafe Hillel…”

I thought about it a minute, and then it dawned on me. The bride who had been killed in a suicide bombing the night before her wedding, along with her father, a well-known physician, who had run the emergency room at Shaare Zedek, saving the lives of so many terror victims. And now, a year later, another wedding. The bride’s brother.

I looked around the room. Many of these people had no doubt gathered the year before to attend his sister’s wedding, and had instead attended her funeral. And now they had gathered once again, to celebrate with joy, to make the bride and groom joyful, to dance and be happy.

I watched the groom’s mother, girlish as a bride herself, as she danced with the bride doing everything she could to make her happy.

I watched as the room swirled around them, everyone laughing, rejoicing. And then I watched the young groom suddenly break into the women’s circle, taking his bride by the hands and dancing with her as the room exploded with cheering, and clapping and happiness.

Whenever I think I can’t go on one more day, that the cisterns of grief are overflowing, ready to tip over and drown me, I never fail to be touched by the extraordinary spirit of the people of Israel, the most humane, giving, life-affirming people on the planet– whatever sick propaganda you might have read to the contrary.

I know we are truly God’s people. How else can you explain what I’ve just told you? Our enemies will never win.

Because love is stronger than hate.
Joy is stronger than sorrow.
And those who love life are stronger than those who value death.
Our enemies think they will win because they are willing to die. But I know we will win, because we are willing, despite everything we’ve been through, to go on living joyful, meaningful lives that are full of love.

I don’t know how it’s possible, but everyday, every hour, someone else shows me how it’s done.
God bless them.

And God bless all of you who love the people of Israel.

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