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.

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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.


Spinning for Obama


The “Debunking Barak Obama” e-mail I sent out has really made waves. They can’t dispute the facts – the Farrakhan-Reverend Wright connection, Obama’s Muslim roots, and his anti-Israel advisors – so instead of dealing with the issues, they’ve taken to name-calling. This information is: “vicious, scurrilous, and inaccurate.” I disagree. I’d call it: “well-documented, balanced, and timely.” And extremely hard to spin. That hasn’t stopped Obama’s Jewish groupies.

Take the following exchange with a reporter from the Forward and then read the final article. Now, that’s (unfortunately) journalism!


Hi Ms. Ragen,

This is Marissa Brostoff writing from the Forward newspaper. I’m writing a story about a group called Jews for Obama that’s formed in response to the emails that are circulating within the Jewish community questioning Barack Obama’s positions on Jewish issues.

The group, which includes a number of prominent Washington people and academics, has not referenced your “Debunking Obama” email directly, but it has called the emails questioning Obama in general “inaccurate,” “malicious,” etc. I’d really like to get your perspective on this. What kind of response has your letter gotten?

Thanks so much,


Dear Marissa,

The response I’ve gotten has been overwhelmingly supportive of the message of my e-mail, which was: Whoa. Who is this guy?

What is this story about an award given to Farrakhan by people associated with Obama’s church? And yes, a little reminder about who Mr. Farrakhan is.

I just couldn’t understand why no one seemed bothered by this. I think people have short memories. They don’t remember the things Farrakhan said. People were really shocked when I quoted from his speeches. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the same week I sent out this e-mail, the issues I raised were suddenly front and center, and Mr. Obama even met with jittery Jewish leaders. I have a huge mailing list, and they are all activists.

In my e-mail, I asked people to debunk anything I said which was incorrect. While I got e-mails, many of them angry, from people who supported Obama, I didn’t get a single letter that made me seriously question anything I’d written. Even those who disagreed with me didn’t challenge my facts, simply my conclusions. I respectfully agreed to disagree with them. Also, many of the e-mails used the same phrases: “guilt by association” for example, which made me understand they were simply parrotting Obama’s campaign spin-doctors, instead of using their brains independently. I think my e-mail shook people up and made them think, at least those who are still capable of independent thought, not the New-York-Times-is-the-Bible-crowd.

I don’t have an agenda. I’m not backing another candidate, and haven’t sent out many e-mails on this subject. Frankly, all I wanted to do was to have people look more deeply into this candidate’s views. There was nothing remotely malicious or untrue about anything I said. Unfortunately, those who support Obama have tended to slide past important issues in their enthusiasm for this charismatic young candidate. I think Mr. Obama is intelligent and talented. But I don’t like his policies. I don’t like his promise to withdraw troops from Iraq and give a victory to terrorism. I don’t like his pathetic and naive assumption that he can discuss “Muslim concerns” and somehow appease those who hate America and are planning to wipe Israel off the map. I didn’t appreciate his statement about the Likud’s policies (he is suddenly an expert on internal Israeli politics?) I don’t like his inexperience, and I particularly don’t like the people who are jumping on the bandwagon to support him for all the wrong reasons. Especially Jews for Obama, who should be a little more cautious with so much at stake. They scare me, and so does Mr. Obama.

Naomi Ragen

Group Forms To Defend Obama Against Attacks

by Marissa Brostoff

Thu. Mar 13, 2008

Ruth Greenspan Bell’s brother kept sending Bell e-mails that suggested Barack Obama was a nefarious foe of the Jewish people, and Bell kept sending ripostes right back. Finally, in late February, she decided she had had enough.

“Some of the things he’d gotten on the Internet were so stupid, like this claim that Louis Farrakhan had officiated at Barack Obama’s wedding,” said Bell, a Washington-based consultant on international climate policy who is active in the Obama campaign.

Bell drafted a letter in support of her candidate’s stance on Jewish issues, rallied some friends – including two foreign policy advisers of then-president Bill Clinton who now volunteer with Obama’s foreign policy advisory group – and embarked on a sort of e-mail counterinsurgency. By the end of the week, they had collected about 100 signatures.

The letter is now the basis for a Web site,, and has been signed by about 450 people, including such high-profile figures as writer Ayelet Waldman, sociologist Todd Gitlin and filmmaker Aviva Kempner. One signatory, former United States Court of Appeals judge and congressman Abner Mikva, once tried to hire a young Barack Obama as a legal clerk; Obama turned him down. Later, the two became friends. plays both defense and offense. The site approvingly quotes Alon Pinkas, an Israeli politician and diplomat who has called Obama’s voting record on Israel “impeccable.” It also dismisses the Jewish-themed attacks on the senator as “vicious,” “scurrilous” and “inaccurate.”

Likewise, in interviews with the Forward, signatories emphasized both their enthusiasm for Obama and their frustration with anti-Obama sentiment in the Jewish community. A common thread ran through their responses: All had received e-mails claiming that Obama was a closet Muslim, a Farrakhan apologist and an enemy of Israel.

Waldman, who has spent much of the past year campaigning for Obama, had particularly harsh words for those involved in what she called “a truly despicable whispering campaign” against the candidate.

“The Jews who believe that he’s a Muslim or not a friend of Israel have clearly forgotten the blood libel,” said Waldman, who is married to novelist Michael Chabon, a vocal Obama supporter (although not a signatory of the letter). “People with our history, knowing what we know about what rumors and lies do, who believe this stuff – it’s a shande [‘disgrace’ in Yiddish].”

Mikva took a more positive tack.

“[Obama] knows that the reason the civil rights movement was successful was that it not only had the support of the black community but of the Jewish community, as well,” Mikva said.

“He’s too young to know it through personal experience, but he knows his history.”

One anti-Obama email in wide circulation was penned by Naomi Ragen, a novelist with a large following among Jewish women.

“I have a huge mailing list,” Ragen told the Forward. “While I got e-mails, many of them angry, from people who supported Obama, I didn’t get a single letter that made me seriously question anything I’d written.”

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