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.

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 - 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.

Subscribe to Naomi's Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to Naomi's blog.

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.

October 2016 - The 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 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.


Shamelessness – This Winter’s Real Epidemic

It isn’t the flu bug that’s giving Israelis a feeling of nausea and head pains in unprecedented numbers this winter.  It’s an epidemic of shamelessness.

It’s President Weizman brazenly declaring that taking “gifts from a friend” is perfectly all right, even if you were an elected official and the friend was a businessman who enjoyed your connections (not to mention the commandos you sent to Panama to rescue him.) It’s President Weizman at a swearing in ceremony for judges, saying in front of three distinctly uncomfortable men in black robes that “I appreciate seeing the law today from the other side …”

It’s Ehud Barak,  saying that he “didn’t know” anything about the dozens of non-profits, many run by his brother-in-law, which poured illegal contributions into his election campaign, a campaign that depicted his opponent, Mr. Netanyahu, as a dishonest schemer.

It’s the picture of investigators rummaging through silver goblets, and other knickknacks pilfered from the government by former First Lady, Sara Netanyahu, who once went to visit the Time-Warner corporate headquarters in New York and after receiving two giant bags of toys for her children called up and asked that the bunny on one of the executive’s desks be sent to her hotel suite as well. (A story I heard personally from someone who worked there and almost died of shame at being Jewish and a supporter of Israel).

It’s the soldier who cowered in fear, ignoring his  fallen commander’s cries for help during a Hizzbolah attack in Lebanon, an attack which left his brave young commander dead, touring the country afterwards, giving public speeches in which he described his cowardice as an  “antiwar protest.” “I knew if I went down to help him, I’d be killed,” the soldier told a national audience on an evening news program, “and I didn’t want to die for such a meaningless cause.”

The soldier’s mother is one of the founders of the “Four Mothers“ group protesting Israel’s involvement in Lebanon.  Her son said these things sitting across from his fallen commander’s identical twin brother, who had to listen, along with his grieving family, not only to a description of his beloved brother waiting in vain for backup that never came, but also the cause he had died for described as worthless.

All this from a boy who had volunteered for duty in a crack army unit in which the members train closely to work together as a unit in the dangerous missions to which they are assigned.  All this from a boy whose fear for his own life –- while perfectly understandable, even pitiable, kept him from doing what he could to save his brother-in-arms.  Never having had to make such a terrible choice, I don’t presume to judge this young soldier’s actions while under attack. However, his activities afterwards are the epitome of shamelessness.  We can understand him, his agony, his distress, his embarrassment.  Decency demands that all of these be nursed at home, in silence, not in front of TV cameras and packed speaking engagements in which he justified himself at the expense of things far more precious than he can, apparently, perceive.

It’s the  former Minister of the Interior, Aryeh Deri,  suddenly developing respect for the court  system  he encouraged thousands of his followers to  denigrate, now that he hopes the Supreme Court will overturn his conviction for bribe-taking.

It’s Rabbi Ovadia Yosef — in lavish Sephardic rabbinical garb – calling our judges “ravishers of  unclean women (boalei niddot).”

It’s  our children being locked out of school for ten days because the government  couldn’t add a few hundred shekel to the embarrassingly meager salaries of the people we entrust with shaping our children’s  minds and characters.  It is this same government managing to come up with one billion shekel a year for stipends for yeshiva students to ensure its coalition agreements. I have yet to see yeshiva students needing to strike to get the money they receive from the government.

It’s the sight of the disabled, once again taking their wheelchairs back into the streets because the few thousand shekels promised them months ago has yet to arrive in their empty bank accounts.  It’s National Insurance workers refusing to transfer the allocated funds to the handicapped unless they get extra pay “for all the extra work involved.”

It’s the fact that Israel’s  President, its  former Prime Minister, and its  present Prime Minister are all under criminal investigations.

And yet, when I look at the members of our newly minted government, whom we elected partly because of a slick, campaign created by savvy, American experts, financed by a war chest crammed full of dishonest funds, it’s not the word “shamelessness” that comes to mind. It’s the word “candidate”, which comes from the Latin meaning “pure and honest.”

Good thing Hebrew isn’t a Latin-based language.

Comments are closed.