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.

Subscribe to Naomi's Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to Naomi's blog.

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 - is a chilling tale of the paths that so easily lead us astray, and the darkness within us all. “שטן
Click the book’s cover to learn more.

Watch Valérie Abécasis' interview with Naomi on French Channel 24's Culture program. The interview (in French) begins at the 4:00 minute mark.

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.

Nic Nie MówMay 2017 – The Polish translation of Devil in Jerusalem is published as Nic Nie Mów.

April 2017 – Naomi speaks about her books at the Ivan M. Stettenham Library at the Streicker Centre in New York City.

March 2017 – Naomi tours the Paris region to speak about her new book Les Soeurs Weiss, the French translation of The Sisters Weiss.

January 2017 – Naomi is interviewed by Valérie Abécasis on French Channel 24‘s Culture program. The interview (in French) begins at the 4:00 minute mark.

“LesDecember 2016Les Soeurs Weiss, the French translation of The Sisters Weiss, is published.

October 2016The 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 Sarah 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.


In Jerusalem with Mayor Guliani

Eight days after a double suicide bombing and car bomb exploded in Zion Square, the heart of downtown Jerusalem, killing eleven teenagers and injuring hundreds, Mayor Giuliani, Governor Pataki, Mayor-Elect Bloomberg sat on a podium just a few feet away from the blood soaked streets.

I could hardly believe my swimming eyes when I read the newspaper ad inviting me to join them in Zion Square for the lighting of the first Chanukah candle. When I wiped away my tears of gratitude and exhilaration at this proof that we were not alone in the world, I knew that I wanted to be there, mostly to honor them for making the trip and the magnificent gesture.

Before I left the house, I watched a CNN report on the festivities in Cairo during Ramadan. The crowded streets. People eating in out door cafes. Fathers and mothers strolling with little children.

Were there places in the world where people still felt so safe, so free, they could do those things? A deep sense of mourning and despair settled over me when I realized how much of our freedom and our well-being we have lost, a useless sacrifice to political cynicism and wrong-headedness.

There are many in Jerusalem , I knew, that wouldn’t be willing to be in Zion Square for any price. The center of town, as Zion Square is called, would mean for most a bus ride to get there. I myself wound up getting off the bus a good half hour away when a suspicious looking man got on. No one blew up, so it was a false suspicion. But this is how we live.

The idea of being in a crowd has in itself become an anathema to Jerusalemites as our personal safety grows more and more tenuous, and we are told again and again by the police, the army, and our political leaders that they can’t protect us (“we can’t seal off the city hermetically, but we are doing the best that we can”.)

“The best that we can,” however, took on a different face when it was political leaders like Mr. Sharon, Mr. Olmert and the Americans whose bodies were in Zion Square. All the surrounding streets were closed off to traffic. Police barricades and security forces checked every person walking into the ten block area surrounding Zion Square.

In order to actually get to the ceremony, one went through security checkposts which included x-ray machines and metal detectors.

Were these things, then, not available eight days ago, when our children, out to eat a pizza and drink a milkshake at a birthday party with high school friends, were blown to bits by suicide bombers?

I think something of this sense of discontent rustled through the crowd, who roared with approval each time Mr. Giuliani spoke, or even had his name mentioned, but were cool, or worse, to Israeli speakers. The crowed was equally appreciative of Governor Pataki and Mayor–elect Bloomberg.

But there was one person on the podium – and only one – who got booed. It was Arik Sharon. “When are you going to do something to stop it!” Someone screamed at him. And others grumbled, an audible sound that reached the podium of politicians like a wave that even the security guards had no way of deflecting.

Except for Mr. Giuliani, who spoke of common values, and being a sister-city, and the attack on freedom and democracy which September 11 represents, and that the attacks on Jerusalem’s citizens represent, and Governor Pataki’s warm words of solidarity, nothing else that was said that night warmed us, or gave us hope.

On the contrary, the choice of “Watch Yourself, Child,” as the theme song for the evening was a sickening reminder of the stark contrast between how the Americans handle the idea of their children being slaughtered by terrorists, and how our current Israeli politicians do. The words of the song go something like this “Watch yourself child, take care of the world because we aren’t succeeding.”

Quite a message to be giving people eight days after our children were slaughtered because of a lack security; because we withdrew troops from Palestinian terrorist strongholds; because we opened the curfew-blocked suicide-bomb factories of Jenin and Tulkarem because it didn’t “look nice” on TV.

Still, I was glad I went. Glad to contribute my applause to the cheers that our American friends so richly deserved for their noble, selfless and truly humane act.

Because they stood in a place that most Jews from America have refused to stand in for over a year. A place that now most Israelis, and Jerusalemites are fearful to stand in. They stood there, their determination, clear-headedness and strength, casting in fine relief our own politicians’ indecisiveness, defeatism, and irresponsibility towards their constituents, giving us all an example of what a political leader can – and ought to – be.

Comments are closed.