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.


Shmuel Eldar

It was a little over a year ago that I received a phone call from the Air Force Base in Palmachim. Would I give a lecture for an officers’ gathering? Mr. Gadol, the education officer wanted to know.

I was extremely flattered, and not a little confused. Me, lecture to Air Force pilots and officers? Of course, I told them. It would be a privilege.

And so, after being picked up by an official army vehicle, I found myself in the middle of a room of Israel’s finest. Ahuva Eldar, wife of the base commander welcomed me warmly. A petite, strikingly beautiful woman, mother of four, Ahuva is a teacher in the Katzir School in Rehovot, where I had lectured a few weeks earlier. It was she who suggested I be invited.

So, there I stood at the front of the room, a little religious woman in a hat and long skirt, facing the tall, handsome, taciturn elite of the elite – Israeli pilots and air force officers. A few knitted skullcaps dotted the room, but mostly, I thought, I am in the midst of Israel’s secular, military establishment, that whole world apart that we religious Jews know so little about. They looked back at me with what I think was equal confusion. This was to be their guest lecturer? A religious woman with an American accent?

But somehow, as I spoke, I felt their intense interest in my description of a world they knew so little about. Perhaps too, hopefully, they sensed my deep love and appreciation for every single one of them.

When I had finished, the base commander, Shmuel Eldar, handed me a gift, a bit of ancient pottery found on the base, encased in glass. And since it was also Mother’s Day, the base commander had arranged for lovely bouquets for all the women: officers, pilots’ wives and girlfriends. He handed a bunch to me. “Your husband is in anti-aircraft, is he? ” he said with that wide, infectious smile that lit up the room. “You let me know if he gives you any trouble. The next time he does reserve duty, I’ll take care of him for you.”

A few days later, I flew to the States. When I returned, I learned that Shmuel Eldar z’’l had been killed together with a rookie pilot during a routine training mission, when the helicopter he flew better than anyone plunged into the sea.

I went to pay Ahuva Eldar a shiv’a call. When I walked through door of the modest house on the base, I found among the mourners a woman with her head covered sitting next to a man with a knitted skullcap. Ahuva introduced them as Sara and Mordechai Adler. They were Shmuel Eldar’s parents.

On March 10, 1999, a memorial service was held in Palmachim in memory of its base commander. The Chief of Staff was there, along with President Weizman, in a room packed with the elite of the elite of Israel’s military establishment, gathered to give honor to Shmuel Eldar. During the evening, I learned many things about the man his friends called “Shmulick,” who had been so very charming to me, a little religious woman: that he had worn a kippah all through high school, and had steadfastly refused a car ride to a friend’s party Friday night, walking miles instead. That his parents were survivors who had been interned in Cyprus, founders of a religious-secular moshav Sitriya. I learned of a family man who adored his beautiful wife and children, and yet had gotten up in the middle of the night at a moment’s notice to fly life-threatening secret missions into enemy territory. A man who loved his soldiers and was dedicated to their training and welfare. A man who died at the age of 45, sacrificing all the good years to come, when he could stay home “and prepare sandwiches for the kid’s lunches,” backpack across Asia with Ahuva and watch the children grow and marry and give him grandkids …

Every single minute of every single day, the lives of all of us who live in Israel depend upon those taciturn, intelligent men who leave warm beds in the middle of the night, without a word of complaint, without a moment’s hesitation, in the knowledge that it might cost them everything life holds so dear. It is never their voices that are raised to say: “We are underprivileged. We deserve more. Others are getting more.” No, the Shmuel Eldars of Israel don’t know how to do that. They only know one thing: to give, give, give, and give some more.

Let’s remember that, every day that we live in this, our most precious country, enjoying our freedom, our national identity, our security. Let’s remember that every time we are tempted to say all religious people are parasites. Let’s remember that every time we are tempted to say all secular Israelis are goyim and sinners. Let’s remember Shmuel Eldar z”l, his beautiful widow, Ahuva, his children, his parents Sara and Mordechai.

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