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.

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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.


Let There Be Net

The Council of Torah Sages has banned the Internet.

In their decree, they say, among other things: “The Internet is a danger 1,000 times greater [than television — which they banned thirty years ago], and is liable to bring ruin and destruction upon all of Israel. ‘The Internet threat’ puts future generations of Israel in grave danger in a way that no other threat has since Israel became a nation.”

Zilbershlag  said: “Look through the garbage cans of Meah Shearim. You won’t find one mouse.”(He wasn’t talking about the kind that eats cheese).

The sad thing is, that the world really needs spiritual leaders, now more than ever.  The more we run headlong into a future whose parameters we cannot fathom, made up of technological marvels that give men the ability to overcome vast distances, physical barriers, even time zones, the more we need to understand how to continue to clothe ourselves in the familiar rituals and values that have blessed the lives of our ancestors with meaning.

So, when Torah sages marginalize themselves into irrelevance by issuing sadly ridiculous decrees that the community ignores (they might as well have  banned electricity) I find it heartbreaking.

How did this happen?

There is no doubt that many unsavory things have gotten onto the Internet: pornographic sites, cults, propaganda for evil organizations including skinheads and other violent racists. But to ban the Internet and basically call it the tool of the devil is like saying you can’t walk out of the house because you might pass by sex shops and movie houses showing X-rated films.

The Internet is a world. Everyone who enters it decides what part of that world they want to visit. Dozens of religious websites dot that world. You can find out what time to light candles when you travel to Sydney, Australia and where you can get kosher food in Hong Kong. You can read Torah commentaries by the hundreds, and get kashrut updates from the Rabbinical Council of America.

leadership of the haredi world into such a panic, I can only conclude that it is the following: The freedom that the Internet gives the individual to explore and understand the world. This freedom, which most of the Western world takes for granted, is an insidious threat as far as the haredi world is concerned, whose biggest fear seems to be that the individual might take off his blinders and look around him unfettered and make his or her own decisions.

The ban on the Internet is just another in a long list which includes: Don’t read books. Don’t listen to the radio. Don’t watch television. Don’t read newspapers. Don’t go to the movies. Learn only in carefully monitored programs and impose a very strict and unwavering code of silence concerning all unpleasant realities, including domestic abuse and other criminal activities.

Dear Honorable Rabbis, I beg you to reconsider. Teach our children to be good and decent human beings, but not with educational systems based on fear, and a methodology that attempts to seal their minds off hermetically from all outside influences. Because if you try to keep that up, the battle is already lost. The world will always filter through in a thousand tiny cracks.

Instead of banning the Internet, ask instead what failure in transmitting values makes the Internet a threat. Ask why a yeshiva student or a Beit Yaakov girl would want to visit a pornographic Internet site. Ask the heads of the yeshivot and girls schools how it is that secular children all over the world thirsting for knowledge are using the Internet as a tool to learn the wonders of nature, language skills, the beauty of art and music, and why it is that a haredi child will be poisoned from drinking out of the same well?

Consider, please, whether the problem is the Internet or simply the failure of the haredi educational system to teach children how to navigate possibilities and choose wisely. This failure was not so terrible in the days when it was possible for a father to cover a child’s face in a prayer shawl and carry him up and back from heder. In the modern world, it’s a catastrophe.

Consider, too, what are the true choices. Like electricity, the Internet has changed the world. It isn’t going away. This is a fact. Would it not be better to let our children gain mastery over this powerful tool of worldwide communication?

Besides, isn’t setting up a Website on the Internet the equivalent of Abraham standing at the door to his tent eagerly inviting the world in?

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