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.


Seasons of Jerusalem

In my forty-six years in Jerusalem, I have known two seasons: summer and winter. Summer comes gradually, the skies clearing of clouds, dyed in cerulean blue, the color of Arab doors and the Caribbean sea. The sun grows larger, moving closer, its light bleaching the vivid red Italian tiles of rooftops and the deep green of old pine trees like water dripping into a palette of watercolors. The air bakes, moisture-less, until the sun leaves, then dances, unburdened, its cool breezes whipping through open windows like a sigh of relief.

And then, without warning, the clouds reappear, turning silver then dark, steel grey as the winds bellow, whipping up little cyclones of bird feathers, desert dust, plastic bags, and the dry leaves of the rare deciduous trees among the olive, Jerusalem Pine, fig, and Red River Gums. Just when we have forgotten that such a thing exists, moisture falls miraculously from the sky after seven months of constant drought. We rummage through boxes for sweaters put away when it seemed as if they would never be needed again.

In my forty-six years in Jerusalem, I have known two seasons: relative peace and relative war.

Peace means going to the supermarket and standing behind an Arab family at checkout, listening to the camaraderie of Arabic chatter between clerks as they fill the shelves without feeling threatened. It means going to Liberty Bell Park on the Sabbath, breathing in the smoke of barbecuing lamb and shish kabob on a green lawn filled with Palestinian families who sit side by side with religious Jews, watching their children go down the slides and climb the jungle gyms. It means walking home after midnight from a concert at the Jerusalem Theatre, humming the tunes, taking shortcuts through the dark alleyways towards home. It means sitting in an outdoor café on Emek Refaim street without guards checking your purse or anyone else’s.

It means stopping for a moment because you have the time and aren’t in a rush to get inside behind a locked door–to listen to the sounds of birds singing their hearts out, your eyes scanning the sky for the colony of green parrots that have taken up residence and continue to thrive. It means getting on a bus and playing Scrabble on your iPhone the entire time, without having to look up at every new person that boards. It means not reading the newspapers or listening to the news for days.

War, like winter, comes swiftly, enveloping you before you know it. It means putting a knife and tear gas in your purse before you leave the house. It means looking warily at the workers who are renovating the apartment next door, hoping they will not want to get into the elevator when you do, hoping you will not have to offend them by being obvious by refusing. It means empty parks and empty playgrounds, and parents driving the short distance to school, clogging your parking space, to let off and pick up their kids.

It means news is now a required drug that must be taken on the hour. Who has died? Who has only been injured? And what of the enemy? Did he escape? Was he captured? Or will he kill again? And what is the government doing? And what is the army doing? And what are the foreign media writing? Are they lying, or telling the truth. Why don’t they ever tell the truth?

It means turning down a deserted alleyway in broad daylight carrying a bag of bananas and a baguette when suddenly a Palestinian appears. You look around, but you are alone. He is speaking to you, but you cannot make out the words. You stand still deciding how much time you have before he runs towards you with his knife. Would it be better to swing the bananas at him, or drop your bags and take out your knife? Before you decide, he raises his voice. “Where is the nearest grocery store?” he asks. And you exhale, tightening your grip on your bags. You answer him, your voice steady, off-hand. “Straight ahead and then,” you point, but cannot remember if the word for that direction is right or left, your mind seared, blank. And you wonder if he has seen your fear, noticed you stopped walking towards him. And you wonder which of you should be embarrassed and ashamed by that.

It means getting on a bus, all your senses sharp, alert, sitting up straight, paying constant attention to the random movement of every passenger. Is his hair dark enough to be a Palestinian’s? What is she hiding beneath her long, traditional dark coat? Should I be afraid? Should I get off the bus, and then tell people: I was on that bus, but I had a feeling, an instinct, and I got off….Or will I get off the bus and hear nothing, and feel foolish and cowardly for running away, for giving into fear until the season changes again.

This article was originally published on the Huffington Post.

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