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.


Stupidity and Evil, Heroism and Holiness

Responding to the massacre of young boys studying Torah, someone wrote me that considering what horrors Israel had committed in Gaza “it’s a shame he didn’t kill every student in the school.”

This is what we are up against. I cannot begin to tell you how weary I am of hearing these lies and having to refute them. Are people stupid? Evil? Insane? Or are they instigated by a stupid, evil press corps who failed to mention the following history when describing Israel’s long delayed and more than justified retaliation against Gazan terrorists:

  • August 27, 2005 Israel throws all residents out of Gush Katif, bulldozes their homes, and hands their 100 million dollar hothouse business over to the Palestinian Authority. September 24, 2005, 30 rockets launched from Gaza into Western Negev. Improved rockets hit Ashkelon.
  • Jan-Feb. 2008, 498 rockets fired into Israeli communities. In all, over 1000 rocket attacks since leaving Gaza.
  • On August 21, 2007, Hamas foreign minister Mahmud A-Zahar says:

“Rockets against Sderot will cause mass migration, greatly disrupt daily lives and government administration. We are succeeding with the rockets, we have no losses and much impact on the Israeli side.”

In light of these facts any complaint about Israel’s long delayed action against the Hamas in Gaza must be seen for what it is: stupid, evil, a perversion of morality.

Any connection or justification to the death of Israeli children, shot in cold blood in a library as they learned their sacred texts (one can just imagine if it was the Koran covered in blood instead of the Talmud and Torah scrolls; would the riots ever end? Would the casualties number less than hundreds?) must be seen in a similar light.

Alaa Abu Dhein, the child-murderer from the East Jerusalem village of Jabal Al Mukaber, had a blue Israeli identity card, which meant he and his family enjoyed Israeli medical care, and social security benefits. He was twenty, and was about to get married in a few months. He worked as a driver. Some have said for the yeshiva where he murdered students, but the Rabbis deny this. He watched the school for weeks, planning his “heroic” act.

He walked up the steps carrying a box. He met three young boys who joked: “What are you bringing us, a television?” He then put down the box, took out a kalashnikov and murdered two of them, without another word. He walked into the library and began to shoot every single person there, checking each one was dead, and firing a few more shots if he wasn’t sure. When there wasn’t anyone left in the library, he started up the steps to the roof, firing in the air. A student shot him twice, but didn’t kill him.

An army officer, David Schapiro, coincidentally home on leave, heard the shots. He had just finished bathing his two and four year-old babies, but he left his pregnant wife, took his rifle, and headed towards the shooting. Risking his life, he entered the building – which he knew well, having spent time there learning and praying – reconnoitered the terrorist, and fired sixteen shots into him, finally ridding the world of this “hero” as he is being called among his fellow Palestinians, who admire most of people who kill Jewish children.

This is whom the “hero” killed:

  • 16 year-old Abraham David Mozes, who loved to learn.
  • 15 year-old Segev Avihayil, a rabbi’s son, who escaped a previous terror attack, and who loved to learn the Talmud, and was so happy to be accepted into the yeshiva.
  • 26 year old Ethiopian Meharta Tornoach, who served combat duty in the recent Lebanese war, and whose ambition was to “learn Torah and to settle the land.” He was found murdered over an open Talmud. He leaves behind an 80 year-old father and a 66 year-old mother.
  • 18 year-old Yehonadav Hirschfeld, who would never miss a day of learning, even coming in when the snows closed the Jerusalem roads.
  • And Yochai Lipstein, an outstanding scholar in his senior year, who characteristically spent his evenings pouring over a Talmud in the library instead of joining in the preparations for the evening’s party.

Merkaz Harav, founded by Rabbi Kook eighty years ago, is an elite institution dedicated to the best values of the Jewish people.

Rabbi Kook believed that rebellion against religion was a passing phenomenon. In the words of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Kook believed that “all Jews would be absorbed into the renaissance of religious creativity that a return to the holy land would set in motion.”

“The sounds of song, the majesty of the holy tongue, the beauty of our precious land which was chosen by God, the ecstasy of heroism and holiness, will return to the mountains of Zion.”

In our lifetime, all this has come to pass.

May the memory of those who died in pursuit of these ideals be blessed. And may God restore the wounded to health, and bless the heroes who saved so many lives.

And may Alaa abu Dhein and his ilk , all the stupid, evil, immoral people, be cleansed from the planet.

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