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.


Peace in our Time

In that pregnant pause between World War One and the unleashing of the unprecedented human disaster that was World War Two, democracies had the opportunity to change history; to forestall Hitler’s naked aggression.

What was missing was neither arms, nor manpower, nor the mechanism for putting an end to Hitler’s plans, for the democracies had all three. The only thing that they lacked was the will to do so.

War weary, desiring peace above all else, the people, and their leadership simply chose the path of least resistance, closing their eyes to Hitler’s invasions, accepting his lame excuses, indeed, blaming themselves. Two hours after proposing his Non-Agression pact to France, Hitler’s tanks were streaming across borders to reoccupy the Rhineland, in direct violation of the Treaty of Versailles. Lord Snowden in Britain, responded thus: “In my judgment Herr Hitler’s greatest crime was not the breach of a treaty, because he had provocation.” (Hitler had complained Europe wasn’t disarming quickly enough. Lord Snowden was indignant on his behalf.)

Hitler’s previous peace overtures had been ignored, Lord Snowden complained to the British Cabinet, “but the people would not permit this peace offer to be neglected.”

War-weary governments of war-weary peoples sometimes create a reality more to their liking. They encourage their people to climb into bed and pull the covers over their heads. And only when the bombs destroy their bedrooms, do people finally look up, surprised, wondering why they hadn’t seen it coming.

The people of Israel have been lulled by their leadership into a similar state. Ever since Oslo, we have been fed smooth-sounding platitudes about giving peace a chance. But Oslo’s slap of thin veneer over the deep, rotting fabric of Jewish-Arab relations and insoluble religious and cultural antagonisms that have fueled the Middle-Eastern conflict for centuries, has disintegrated, leaving things pretty much where we started.

Except now, instead of the rocks of the intifada, our negotiating partners have guns we gave them because our leaders told us they needed guns, because how else could the Palestinian Police keep order? And now they tell us the problem is Arik Sharon visiting the Temple Mount; or a young boy who was tragically killed in the war zones created by Arab rioters.

But the reality is that when we turned on our televisions after finishing our New Year’s prayers for a good and peaceful year we were confronted by a full fledged armed conflict no further than a ten minute drive from every single house in Israel.

From Psagot, outside Jerusalem, to the road outside my own home in Ramot, to the heart of Tel Aviv’s Yaffo, to the main roads to Haifa, crowds of rock and gun-wielding Palestinians and Arab-Israelis shot at everything that moved. Dozens were killed, hundreds injured, mostly on the Arab side.

And Arab leadership, our negotiating partners in this peace initiative in which we have invested so much hope, and for which we have taken so many calculated risks, shocked us by transmuting in the blink of an eye from dark-suited diplomats into frothing rabble rousers.

And what has a been the response of our leaders? “Peace is expensive,” Benjamin Ben Eliezer (or Fuad) vice-Minister of Defense told the news. “We are in the last stages of the peace process.”

It is just this kind of Orwellian doublespeak that makes me despair that our government has the ability and the will to fulfill any of its minimal obligations to those that put them into power. And that obligation is to protect and defend and maintain order and civilization.

No baby in its crib should have bullets flying over its head, as happened in the Israeli settlement of Psagot, where rioters opened fire on civilians in their beds. No wounded Israeli soldier should be left behind to bleed to death in the face of Arab rioters, as happened in the Tomb of Joseph.

Peace is expensive, Mr. Eliezer. But war is even more so. And you are a minister of the State of Israel. Your job is not to blather on about peace. It’s to defend the people of Israel. Period.

While his own country burns, Mr. Barak flies to meet the American Secretary of State, Ms. Albright, and Yasir Arafat, who couldn’t care less about the well-being of the Palestinian people he intends to rule – viewing every death as a chilling public relations victory for his side.

The time has come to ask: Do we have a partner in this process? And if so, where are the fruits of our labors? Show me the money, Mr. Arafat. What you can bring to the negotiating table except for platitudes and arrogance and Third-World disdain for human life. Otherwise, there’s nothing to talk about.

As for my own leader, Mr. Barak, I’d like you to read this before you go:

“Delight in smooth sounding platitudes, refusal to face unpleasant facts, desire for popularity and electoral success irrespective of the vital interests of the State, genuine love of peace and pathetic belief that love can be its sole foundation….utter devotion of the Liberals to sentiment apart from reality [all these things] constituted a picture of … fatuity and fecklessness which, though devoid of guile, was not devoid of guilt, and through free from wickedness and evil design, played a definite part in the unleashing upon the world of horrors and miseries which, even so far as they have unfolded, are beyond comparison in human experience.”

(Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm)

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