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.


Shammai Davidovics: A Daughter Remembers

Although I have been friends with Tova Davidovics Lebovits for years, this is the first time she ever shared this remarkable tale with me. With her kind permission, I wanted to share it with you, in Tova’s own words:

I am the child of Holocaust survivors. I belong to the generation that will always be overshadowed by the calamity of our parents. I belong to a generation of kinless childhoods, relatives never met who had perished, yet whose silent presence loomed always in the background. I belong to a generation that has to face the horrors of the past and bridge that past to an uncertain future. I cannot explain Hitler nor can I make what happened go away. I also realize that I myself am practically powerless in the face of denial, revisionism, minimizing, cruel cynicism, distortion, omission and forgetfulness. BUT I CAN REMEMBER and I must pass that memory on.

My father Shammai Davidovics taught me to fight for life. He could not speak about what happened to him during the war, nor of his family who perished. He kept a life-long, self-imposed silence which I painfully learned to accept despite my need to know. Over the years, survivors and people he had saved would find us and then I would hear their tales. Only before his death did he break that silence and substantiate the stories I and my brothers had collected.

He was born in 1912 to a Hassidic family in Danilev (near Hust), a small Czechoslovakian town in the Carpathian mountains. My grandma Gitle after whom I was named (git=good=Tova), was said to be a cheerfully energetic thin wisp of a woman, who managed to bring into this world 14 babies of whom 12 reached adulthood; 8 sons and four daughters with my father somewhere in the middle.

My grandfather Shmuel Hayim Halevi, was the shohet and posek of the town and like most , struggled to earn his daily bread. Like those around him and before him, my father went to ‘heder’, spoke Yiddish, and led a religious life. Yet unlike them, his curiousity and adventurous nature led him to seek knowledge in the big world outside the confines of his shtetl. To his parents chagrin, he secretly studied Hebrew (was an avid Zionist) and other secular subjects. At age 16, he was accepted to a German gymnasium in Berne, where he continued his Torah studies on the side as well. He was the only member of his family to join the Czechoslovakian army (a Jew must learn how to fight) and from there was one of the few Jews accepted to the University of Budapest (a Jew must know what is happening around him).

By the end of 1943, when the German army had invaded Hungary, he was fluent in 12 languages; had already completed his PH.d in Sociology; and had received Rabbinical ordination from Beit Hamidrash Lerabanim in Budapest. At the start , the Germans only took Jews who did not have Hungarian or Czech citizenship papers. Unfortunately, most Jews did not have them, despite having lived in these countries for centuries.

My father and several of his friends organized an underground forgers ring, where they began producing forged citizenship papers and other necessary documents for Jews. Financed by wealthy Jews, they also worked with Raoul Wallenburg, providing him with needed documentation. At this time my father also became the master of disguises, taking on various identities when necessary for his mission. Fortunately for him, he looked Arian, spoke a fluent German, and unlike some who could not see the writing on the wall, he believed that desperate times demanded desperate measures.

The following story was told to us by several survivors of Danilev, my father’s home town, and corroborated by my father himself.. My father had collected all the names of the Jews of Danilev without citizenship papers (half the town was related) and had worked as fast as possible to forge those papers, several hundred in all. He knew time was of the essence. It took almost five days to reach Danilev and he knew the German army was now deporting Jews of nearby regions and they would get to his home town and family within weeks. With papers in hand, he set out to his home town in great haste. As he neared his region, he heard that the Germans had worked much faster than anticipated and that they had most probably reached Danilev.

He arrived at his home town too late. The entire population, including his family, had been herded onto cattle cars and the trains were about to depart. My father saw the Germans soldiers guarding the trains and taunting his people and could only do one thing…

On the scene arrived an impeccably dressed, high -ranking German official. He walked with a quick sure gait and the self confidence of a haughty personage and he was FURIOUS. He approached one of the guards, who immediately saluted him, and in harsh tones demanded to see the highest ranking officer in charge. He sent the guards scuffling off to obey his orders. A perplexed and harried officer quickly appeared, and received a terribly humiliating public scolding.

“Do you realize you have blatantly violated military orders?” the arrogant German official berated him, slamming down a stack of papers in front of his eyes. The Jews of Danilev were released from the cattle cars and returned to their homes.

The arrogant, high-ranking German delivering the scolding was my father.

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