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

My Dear Hadar

We never met, but yesterday, you saved my life, and the lives of so many others who live in Jerusalem. You save our lives, and gave your own young life with all its promise and all the joys of life still ahead of you, all 101 years of potential. You sacrificed that.

You were only 19. In America, you’d be in your sophomore year in some happy, academic playground.

Instead, you were in Jerusalem, in the IDF, on patrol in the Border Guard unit that stands between terrorists and the residents of the holy city of Jerusalem. You had only been in training for two months when yesterday, together with your fellow trainee Ravit, and your experienced unit head, you saw three Arabs sitting suspiciously near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City. As required, you three walked over and asked them to identify themselves. Instead, they got up. You pushed them back down and then one took out a gun and fired, while the other used a blade to cut Ravit’s head.

You were shot. You fell. But you got up and killed the terrorist attacking Ravit, who is alive today and recovering. Because of you. Coolly, as if you had been doing this all your life, you aimed, shot, and killed him, protecting your friend from certain death, and protecting all of us from the guns, knives and pipe bombs these three Islamic fascist, Nazi murderers had brought to Jerusalem. Busy protecting all of us, you couldn’t see that behind your back the third Palestinian had a submachine gun aimed at your head. He fired point blank until he was taken out by another border guard.

I never met you, Hadar. I never met your parents, or your brother and sister. But I know you. I know that you were determined to be in a combat unit despite your parents’ fears for you, and that you achieved your wish. I know that you were extremely brave, and smart, and skilled, and even though you had so little on-the-job training, you behaved exactly the way an experienced veteran would have behaved. I am so proud of you, so heartbroken that you had to give your years to save others their years.

I am so heartbroken that you had to save us, that you are living in a country surrounded by Islamic murderers who target Jews for the oldest of reasons. I am heartbroken we older people can’t somehow protect our Hadars, that you have to protect us. If I could, I would wave a magic wand and all the haters, the inciters, the potential murderers of our people, would fall into one of the tunnels in Gaza and die a slow, painful death.

My wand would also make sure that the journalists who were supposed to report on your heroism- CBS, Reuters- who used “Three Palestinians Killed” as their headlines, instead of “Young Hadar Cohen Defeats Terrorists, Saves Untold Lives,” would one day – in a bar, or rock concert – face their very own jihadi, and that the headlines after their deaths would read: “Innocent Muslim Killed in Attack on Wicked Journalist.”

I wish I could give you back your years, give your parents back their lovely daughter, your siblings their precious sister, our country its talented, loyal citizen, the Jewish people its amazing member. I can only sit here with tears hoping that you will be the last one, the very last one who is called to sacrifice your years to give us ours.

 

14 comments to My Dear Hadar

  • Glenn Taubman

    Naomi, thank you! I read this aloud at the Seder I led last night to tears by me and others. Am Yisrael chai.

  • Lara

    Thank you, Naomi, for this beautiful and heartbreaking tribute to heroic Hadar. I am not Jewish, but I love the Jewish people, as many in America do. Unless we search for and find articles such as yours, we are not able to get the full truth of what happens in our world. I am very saddened to know things are getting so difficult there. Please know that many here are praying to Hashem for the constant protection and safety. I pray Hadar’s family finds some comfort in her strong love for her country and her bravery. She is forever in our hearts.

  • […] Reprinted with author’s permission from Naomi Ragen […]

  • ricardo stanley

    Thank you Naomi, your letter touched my heart.
    My daughters lives in Jereusalem. She was also saved by Hadar. May G-d give your parents the strength to go on.
    May her memory be for a blessing.

  • Dee S.

    Thank you Naomi for this wonderful narrative. And thank you Hadar for protecting your friends and Israel. May you rest in peace and may your parents have the strength to go on. Every Jew on the planet owes their existence to soldiers like Hadar. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  • howard anson

    Thanks Naomi…as always an insightful piece to a terrible event.
    The post from Portia (above) to me echos a prior post from you “Its okay.Dont Cry for Us Isrealis ” written during the last Gaza wat
    No outsider will help us jews…they didnt during the Holocaust when there was no extraneous factors -we can only look to ourselves.
    Thank you to Israel and its citizens for giving us a reason for pride
    Am yisrael chai ( excuse any miss spellings )

    Howard A in Cda

  • dj

    Thank you, thank you. What a beautiful way to honor Hadar and her amazing heroic life.

  • Portia

    Duh…she is not the last as this is the reality of our existence….something the World does not seem to understand….if you look at Hadar’s friends standing above her grave in their uniforms, armed and ready to go back out and continue defending our Jewish Nation…knowing it could be them next….this does not deter us and our children….in civilized Europe children were ripped from their Jewish mother’s arms to be sent to their deaths….we will never give up our right to protect our Nation.

  • Daniela Lowinger

    Thank you for expressing in a humble and very moving way what we would have liked to say.

  • Naomi Romm

    Dear Naomi. We have all lost this child of Israel. Hadar Cohen lived her life to the fullest, but now Hashem needs her more. May her memory be for a blessing.

  • JANICE GOLDBERG WHITE

    Dear Naomi,

    For a change, you said all that could be said. I also read the article about Hadar and hurt for her. She was a very young woman who loved her country and for that she will be remembered. Unfortunately, her family wishes that she had done more of what they wanted for her – to go to college and become whatever she wished (which I presume she was in the process of becoming) and to get married and have her family.

    May she rest in peace and know how much gratitude and love is being sent her way.

    Jan

  • Beverly Payce

    This is just too sad for word.
    Poor child, that’s what she was, a child.
    My heartfelt sympathy and tears to her family
    Bev, Canada

  • Elizabeth Levitt

    I am a 78-year-old committed to living in the United States and could cry all day for what the Israelis N m go through. I wish I could write present Obama, see an end and all the other do you stations absolutely do not explain the truth to the Americans. I wish I knew what to do maybe you can write an article on what we should do and how we can get in touch with people we should I am going to call my congressman today I have lived I am I have been to Israel many times

  • Marsha Roth

    Hi Naomi,
    Thank you for writing such a touching letter. It completely expressed my feelings. I’m also horrified at the Evil we must send our young soldiers to eradicate. I couldn’t sleep last night thinking how her sacrifice was so heroic and sad for her family and our people.
    Marsha