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

Never Prouder to Be an Israeli and a Jew

I was walking down the street in Jerusalem the other day when it suddenly occurred to me in the way those obvious thoughts just pop into one’s head out of nowhere, that never, in all my life, have I felt more proud to be an Israeli and to be a Jew.

This might sound ironic coming at such a time; a time when the world is frothing at the mouth, flinging every vile name at the Jewish people and the land of Israel, accusing us of crimes they perfected sixty years ago, and terminology that they — those wise, cultured Europeans — invented because no terms existed in the history of mankind for the barbarity they inflicted on the Jewish people. Holocaust. Concentration Camps. Mass Murder. Nazis.

And now, they think they can somehow wipe off their guilt by throwing those terms at the survivors of their brutality and their children.

I was walking down the street, and I thought about the Church of the Nativity, and the old priest who was holding the sheet painted in red with the words :”Help Us” on it. And the way our soldiers took him out and put their arms around him. And the way this old priest faced the cameras and said, with tears in his eyes: “Thank you. They’ve stolen everything. Our crosses. Everything. Thank you for helping me.”

We saw it on Israeli television. I thought about the fifty children that are being held hostage in the Church of the Nativity and about the silence of the Pope, busy dealing with pedophiles, too busy to worry about condemning Muslim terrorists who invade Christianity’s holiest shrine and hold priests and children hostage. And about the Israeli soldier that was critically wounded just yesterday by a terrorist hiding in the church, hiding behind those children, that have no food, and little water. A soldier who didn’t want to tear gas the place, or shoot back.

I thought about other soldiers in the Israeli army which insisted on going from booby-trapped house to booby trapped house in the terrorist stronghold Jenin they jokingly call a “refugee camp.” Home to suicide bombers and bomb belt factories. They wouldn’t bomb those houses, and we lost 23 precious sons. Because we didn’t want to kill innocent people – if there were any in such a place. Hard to imagine.

I thought about the Muslims in Sudan who kidnap Christian little girls (New York Times, April 23, 2002)and enslave them, beating and raping and selling them as wives to old men. And I thought about Muslims in Saudi Arabia holding telethons to raise money in the billions for suicide bombers who will go on an indiscriminate murder spree all over the world.

And I thought about the IDF army spokeswoman who described the army’s efforts to get food and medicine to the refugee camps, and how they can get the food inside, but that the Palestinian Authority isn’t making any effort at all to distribute it because they are still engaged in planning terror attacks from Arafat’s compound, to which Europeans in well-cut suits arrive by the busload daily to pay the mass murderer and war criminal their respects. I suppose, given Europe’s history, they feel right at home there.

Jews don’t burn mosques, or churches. We don’t target children, or old women. We, despite all that was done to us, and all the hatred we receive, continue to be compassionate, to value justice, and human life. We continue to teach our children to value life, and love other people, and strive towards peace. Our children don’t throw stones at Arabs. We don’t burn the flags of other countries.

We don’t refuse to do business with the anti-Semites in France, and the Nazi sympathizers in Belgium. Maybe we should, but we don’t. We judge each man on his merits, not his nationality or religion. And despite the fact that an Arab tried to kill me and my husband and children only a few weeks ago, I don’t hate Arabs. Just terrorists and their supporters.

The other peoples of the world have always seemed better off, stronger, more numerous. They live in lands that stretch out endlessly, and have treasures of oil, iron, gold in their hills, and lush forests and abundant rainfalls and beautiful rivers.

But I have never been prouder to say those words in the prayer book: “Thank you God, for not making us like all the other nations of the world, all the other families on the earth.” For they don’t have a clue how to cherish what they’ve been given. How to share it with their own people and with others. And we, in our little, tiny, desert land, care deeply about those among us who are hungry and poor.

We don’t waste water, and we eat our fruits with a blessing. We glory in the beauty of our tiny Lake Kinneret, and walk along our Mediterranean shore on a summer’s afternoon with joyful hearts as we watch the sun set, our minds empty of hatred and plans for killing. Our minds on our family’s well-being and the future, a better future for all mankind when they recognize that all the Earth belongs to God, and no one has a God-given right to kill others because they want something they don’t have.

And that to kill someone who is trying to kill you is a good deed, not an immoral act.

Yes, Mr. Kofi Anan. The whole world can be wrong and the Jews right…

Whether they are ignorant tribesmen spewing hate in tents, or sophisticated newsmen, spewing their hatred and prejudice through sophisticated cable networks and outer space satellites. All those who join with us and bless us now, at this time, will be blessed. And all those who join our enemies, now, at this time, will be cursed.

I’ll bet my life on it.

Thank you God, for making me a Jew, and teaching me your Laws, at this time, and in this place, when so many all over the world have lost their moral bearings and have sunk so low. Thank you for keeping Your promise to Abraham, for bringing me, his descendant, back here thousands of years later. I will try to be worthy of being a Jew, to be worthy of all the good you’ve showered on me and the Jewish people by giving us back our homeland, and helping us to defeat our enemies, the enemies of all good people everywhere.

I was walking down the street in Jerusalem the other day when it suddenly occurred to me in the way those obvious thoughts just pop into one’s head out of nowhere, that never, in all my life, have I felt more proud to be an Israeli and to be a Jew.

This might sound ironic coming at such a time; a time when the world is frothing at the mouth, flinging every vile name at the Jewish people and the land of Israel, accusing us of crimes they perfected sixty years ago, and terminology that they — those wise, cultured Europeans — invented because no terms existed in the history of mankind for the barbarity they inflicted on the Jewish people. Holocaust. Concentration Camps. Mass Murder. Nazis.

And now, they think they can somehow wipe off their guilt by throwing those terms at the survivors of their brutality and their children.

I was walking down the street, and I thought about the Church of the Nativity, and the old priest who was holding the sheet painted in red with the words :”Help Us” on it. And the way our soldiers took him out and put their arms around him. And the way this old priest faced the cameras and said, with tears in his eyes: “Thank you. They’ve stolen everything. Our crosses. Everything. Thank you for helping me.”

We saw it on Israeli television. I thought about the fifty children that are being held hostage in the Church of the Nativity and about the silence of the Pope, busy dealing with pedophiles, too busy to worry about condemning Muslim terrorists who invade Christianity’s holiest shrine and hold priests and children hostage. And about the Israeli soldier that was critically wounded just yesterday by a terrorist hiding in the church, hiding behind those children, that have no food, and little water. A soldier who didn’t want to tear gas the place, or shoot back.

I thought about other soldiers in the Israeli army which insisted on going from booby-trapped house to booby trapped house in the terrorist stronghold Jenin they jokingly call a “refugee camp.” Home to suicide bombers and bomb belt factories. They wouldn’t bomb those houses, and we lost 23 precious sons. Because we didn’t want to kill innocent people – if there were any in such a place. Hard to imagine.

I thought about the Muslims in Sudan who kidnap Christian little girls (New York Times, April 23, 2002)and enslave them, beating and raping and selling them as wives to old men. And I thought about Muslims in Saudi Arabia holding telethons to raise money in the billions for suicide bombers who will go on an indiscriminate murder spree all over the world.

And I thought about the IDF army spokeswoman who described the army’s efforts to get food and medicine to the refugee camps, and how they can get the food inside, but that the Palestinian Authority isn’t making any effort at all to distribute it because they are still engaged in planning terror attacks from Arafat’s compound, to which Europeans in well-cut suits arrive by the busload daily to pay the mass murderer and war criminal their respects. I suppose, given Europe’s history, they feel right at home there.

Jews don’t burn mosques, or churches. We don’t target children, or old women. We, despite all that was done to us, and all the hatred we receive, continue to be compassionate, to value justice, and human life. We continue to teach our children to value life, and love other people, and strive towards peace. Our children don’t throw stones at Arabs. We don’t burn the flags of other countries.

We don’t refuse to do business with the antiSemites in France, and the Nazi sympathizers in Belgium. Maybe we should, but we don’t. We judge each man on his merits, not his nationality or religion. And despite the fact that an Arab tried to kill me and my husband and children only a few weeks ago, I don’t hate Arabs. Just terrorists and their supporters.

The other peoples of the world have always seemed better off, stronger, more numerous. They live in lands that stretch out endlessly, and have treasures of oil, iron, gold in their hills, and lush forests and abundant rainfalls and beautiful rivers.

But I have never been prouder to say those words in the prayer book: “Thank you God, for not making us like all the other nations of the world, all the other families on the earth.” For they don’t have a clue how to cherish what they’ve been given. How to share it with their own people and with others. And we, in our little, tiny, desert land, care deeply about those among us who are hungry and poor.

We don’t waste water, and we eat our fruits with a blessing. We glory in the beauty of our tiny Lake Kinneret, and walk along our Mediterranean shore on a summer’s afternoon with joyful hearts as we watch the sun set, our minds empty of hatred and plans for killing. Our minds on our family’s well-being and the future, a better future for all mankind when they recognize that all the Earth belongs to God, and no one has a God-given right to kill others because they want something they don’t have.

And that to kill someone who is trying to kill you is a good deed, not an immoral act.

Yes, Mr. Kofi Anan. The whole world can be wrong and the Jews right...

Whether they are ignorant tribesmen spewing hate in tents, or sophisticated newsmen, spewing their hatred and prejudice through sophisticated cable networks and outer space satellites. All those who join with us and bless us now, at this time, will be blessed. And all those who join our enemies, now, at this time, will be cursed.

I’ll bet my life on it.

Thank you God, for making me a Jew, and teaching me your Laws, at this time, and in this place, when so many all over the world have lost their moral bearings and have sunk so low. Thank you for keeping Your promise to Abraham, for bringing me, his descendant, back here thousands of years later. I will try to be worthy of being a Jew, to be worthy of all the good you’ve showered on me and the Jewish people by giving us back our homeland, and helping us to defeat our enemies, the enemies of all good people everywhere.

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