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.


Let’s Talk About the Children

Although it has become almost a routine sight on our television screens, I cannot help but gasp every time I see it: children in front of tanks, throwing stones at armed soldiers. And nowhere, but nowhere, is there a single mother running to grab their hands and lead them home.

Where are the Palestinian mothers? And what in Heaven’s name are they thinking when they let their children endanger their lives, and the lives of others, day in and day out? Because make no mistake about it, when those kids throw those stones, they are making an effort to injure and kill our kids. Because those “flak jacketed army regulars,” just a little older than the kids trying to give them skull fractures, are our kids: eighteen year- old draftees, not volunteers, handed guns and rubber bullets with strict instructions to be very careful not to hurt anyone unnecessarily.

True, an eighteen year-old is not a ten year- old. But if my son was ten, you can bet your life I would be out there dragging him off the street and locking him in his room. He’d be grounded forever. And I would wonder, as the wails of mourning mounted in the homes of my friends, and relatives, and neighbors, why it was that my wise and fearless leader, Yasir Arafat, has abandoned the negotiating table and turned to bullets and thus invited bullets in return from those who had extended their hand in peace. I would wonder what in Heaven’s name he hoped to accomplish, and how many Palestinian children he intended to sacrifice the altar of his monomaniacal dreams of glory?

I know what the well-oiled Palestinian public relations machine will say: These young people are so enraged by atrocities on the Israeli side that their parents are helpless to stop them expressing their fury.


I also have a young son the same age as the rock-throwers. He is no less enraged by Palestinian atrocities — buses blowing up near his school, Arabs running amok and stabbing passersby in quiet Jerusalem streets, lynchings, the desecration of Jewish holy places … And I ask myself, why don’t I have to drag him away from throwing stones at the Arab village that is practically in our backyard? And I ask myself, why isn’t it necessary to restrain the children of Gilo, who have been subject to gunfire aimed at their brothers and sisters, their parents and friends, from a rage of rock-throwing at Arab Beit Jalla?

There is a simple answer, of course, which somehow no one is willing to admit: In the last seven years since Oslo, while Israeli children were learning to paint doves and sing songs longing for peace, Palestinian kids were taken to summer camps where they were taught to shoot and sing patriotic war songs. While my son, and the kids in Gilo, have been subject to an endless barrage of peace programs, dialogues with peace-loving Arab teenagers, plays, movies, and songs lauding peace and brotherhood and denouncing violence, Palestinian preschoolers got treated to a Palestinian version of Sesame Street that taught them the joys of becoming a “shahid” or suicide-bomber for Allah. While our children’s textbooks were revised to inculcate democracy and respect for all cultures, post-Oslo Palestinian textbooks show no Israel on the map and systematically demonize Israel and the Jewish people.

Add to this the Goebbels-inspired propoganda films depicting depraved Israeli soldiers raping young Palestinian girls (produced and broadcast by the Palestinian Authority) — is there any wonder that these kids want to disembowel every Jew and dip their hands in the blood? Or as one crazed and truly scary Palestinian youngster said on camera (I saw this with my own eyes): “Eat Jewish flesh.”

Yasir Arafat, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is the director of this production which has turned normal kids under his tutelage into murderous, rock-throwing, gun-shooting rabble. And his show is being swallowed by the world press as if they’d never been to Journalism 101, their purple prose wallowing in the “freedom-fighting kids against evil soldiers” cliché as if it were a Shakespearean tragedy instead of the cheesy and obscene exploitation film it is, only one in a series by the same director, who brought us the massacre of Israeli schoolchildren in Maalot, and the murder of Olympic athletes in Munich.

So what is the answer? For starters, what about a call on Palestinian mothers and fathers to exercise a little parental responsibility; to go out there, take those misguided kids by the hand and take them home? And if these parents are so incompetent or fanatic that they can’t or won’t try to save their kids from harm (for after all, even animals care about their kids, isn’t that what Hanan Ashwari told Bob Simon?) then I say those kids need to be cared for by public institutions that will take responsibility for their well-being.

Perhaps the UN, which has done nothing worthwhile in this region for some time, can start working on a plan to set up UNICEF boarding schools, a place where Palestinian kids can be sheltered from exploitation; a place where they too can learn to paint doves and sing songs longing for peace.

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