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.


Light a Candle, Hold a Vigil

Reuters and AP talk about “militants.”  Australian papers put it on the back pages, behind stories about Sharon’s “corruption.”  CNN and BBC are busy discussing why America didn’t protect the UN in Iraq (when it asked not to be protected, certain it had earned the mutual love of terror organizations). Israeli crews have busily cleaned the streets.  The dead babies are buried.  The wounded, burnt children and their parents suffering in hospitals.  Everyone wants to forget.

But this is what happened:

A 29 year old Palestinian Muslim preacher from Hebron, with small children of his own, a member of Hamas, put on the outfit of an ultra Orthodox Jew and a suicide belt provided by a well-financed terror organization.  Permitted easy access to Jerusalem by Arik Sharon’s policies, dictated by Colin Powell and George W. Bush, he entered the city and waited for a bus crowded with Jewish worshippers coming home from the holiest site in Judaism, the Western Wall.  He got on, pushing  past the baby carriages, the mothers nursing babies, the small children, the pregnant women.  He walked to the center of a twin bus, and he knowingly blew himself up, injuring or killing every, single person on that bus.

Twenty are dead. 136 injured.

When the bomb went off, people flew from the bus, others died instantly.  Father and mothers and children got separated.  Wound up in different hospitals.

Babies arrived without parents.  Parents without their babies. Shmuel Zagari, eleven months, died.  Lilach Kardi, 22, eight months pregnant, died. Chava Reichner, 19, engaged to be married in three months, died.  Shalom Mordechai Reinetz, father of 11, died, along with his nine year old son, Yissacher Dov. Leba Schwarz, 57, grandmother of 11, died. Goldie Zarkovski and her three month old son, died. Elisheva Meshulmi, 16, died. And Chanoch, and Shmuel, and Benjamin and twelve year old Avraham…

And Ora Cohen lay weeping in her hospital bed, unable to move, unable to search for the one month old baby she’d been holding, and her year and a half old son, both of whom she feared dead, until volunteers found them for her and told her they were fine.  And a mother and her four year old daughter lay next to each other with head injuries in intensive car.  And whole families were destroyed….

And in Hebron, at the news of dead Jewish babies, they sent up fireworks.  And the wife of the bomber said he had fulfilled his lifelong ambition. And that she was proud of him. And she began emptying out her cupboards waiting for the IDF to blow up her house, because she had no doubt been promised a bigger, better house financed by Syria, Saudia Arabia or Iran.

This is what happened here, on Tuesday, August 19, 2003. In the holiest city in the world.

And I’m thinking, what can we do, now?  And what feels right to me is the idea of a vigil, a candlelit vigil, to say that we won’t forget. Holding the names and pictures of the victims.  Holding up the words of our leaders.  Letting them know that the responsibility can’t be washed away like the blood of children on Shmuel Ha Navi street.   That the blood of innocents are crying out to us from the ground, like the blood of Able, the first murder victim, and that the cry echoes in our ears.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a Jew or  not.  It only matters if you are human.

Please, organize these vigils in your home towns. Pick a day, any day. Ask a few friends. Send a press release to your local papers.  Light memorial candles.

Stand outside in the streets.  In Phoenix, in Melbourne, in Toronto, in Johannesburg, in Haifa, and Kfar Saba, and New York and Washington and London and Paris.  Please, even if only a few of you do it, at least there will be some candles in the darkness. A few candles in the darkness.  And all those of you here in Israel who want to join me, send me your ideas, try to enlist organizations to which you belong to join.

Ask our leadership, the world, to take responsibility.  Don’t forget what happened here.

Don’t forget the terrible, terrible thing that happened here…

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