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.


“The
Naomi's just-published 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.


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.

Categories

The Black Boot Award for Journalism

In the last few months since Arafat left the negotiating table and started murdering Israeli civilians, I have been pondering why he keeps most foreign correspondents so sympathetic to his cause.

Today, I finally figured out the reason. We Jews just don’t show our appreciation for the fine job journalists do given this difficult and often dangerous situation in the Middle East. Most of them are far away from home, don’t speak Hebrew or Arabic, don’t really know the country’s history very well. They are lonely. Unhappy. All they can really look forward to from this assignment is that it will earn them those distinguished award citations that journalists get from covering such thankless assignments in war zones.

To my chagrin, the Hamas understood this long before we Jews did. They gave out their awards, honoring the BBC correspondent with his little bronze plaque.

But all this is about to change. There is not only a new award, but a short list and a winner. The Black Boot Award for Creative Journalism (after the great German master of media manipulation who shall go unnamed…).

To qualify, a journalist must have written a series of articles sympathetic to genocidal regimes and/or child sacrifice, and the deliberate targeting of unarmed civilians. To be considered, the articles must be completely one-sided. For example, if houses are bulldozed, a journalist cannot mention why, but simply show the terrible suffering of the now homeless, wailing women with their one pot and bag of flour. To point out the possible use of such homes as cover for mortar fire, for example, would unfortunately lead to automatic disqualification.

Language is also of the utmost importance. The pejorative adjectives must routinely be applied to the non-genocidal regime: hard-liner, excessive force, illegal settlements. Sympathy for those calling for all out holy war must be clear-cut and not open to misunderstanding. Heartrending sympathy for the brave little suicide bombers and their lovely families, for example, would be a prerequisite, and basically mandatory in light of the spirit of what our award hopes to honor.

As you who have been reading your newspapers and watching your television sets have probably now realized, this was a very, very tough decision. There were so many qualified entries, and so many really deserving recipients. However, as with any award, there are those who are excellent, and then those that because of their absolute consistency simply blow away the competition and one can only bow one’s head in admiration for a job superbly done that cries out for recognition.

Before we announce the winner, I’d like to say who made the short- list.

Mike Hanna, of CNN, my personal favorite for a long time, to my regret (sorry Mike) just didn’t make the grade. It’s a shame. I remember with nostalgia that memorable CNN quote regarding the suicide bomber in the Netanya mall : “Israel says its bombing of Palestinian targets has been in response to what it calls terrorist attacks.” A suicide bomber in a mall, after all, could be called a dissatisfied shopper too. Takes Mike to think of that one.

Unfortunately of late, Mike’s reporting has lost the verve and bite of his early reports, when Sharon was always called “hard-liner” and Sheikh Yassin ” the spiritual leader of a fundamentalist group.” Maybe Rick Davis, his boss, is to blame.

In any case, the Americans really can’t hold a candle to the British. The selection was enormous. Sam Kiley of the Times of London was frontrunner a long time. Honestly, I thought he was unbeatable. With such articles as “Palestinians driven out by Israeli Apartheid” about cave-dwellers in Hebron (!) subject to Israeli “racial cleansing.” Or such classics as “the bearded man in a green hat pressed his cheek against the barbed wire and wept” in describing the fence that separates Lebanon, and the Hizbollah terrorists from Israeli settlements, and the poor souls that can’t infiltrate at will.

Of course, Phil Reeves of the Independent of London with his heartrending description of Hizbollah terrorists as “snowy-haired detainees…freed from brutal hell-holes” in a South Lebanese prison : “They smashed down doors. They shattered windows. They chanted ‘Long live Nasrallah.’ ” Well. You’ll admit. Hard to top.

Nevertheless, that’s just what our winner has succeeded in doing. Her name: Suzanne Goldenberg, correspondent for the Guardian. Suzanne is by far, the person who more than any other journalist, deserves this award. Her articles have broken new ground, in fact, going places that no other journalist employed by a news organization not currently banned for travel in the United States has reached.

Take her “A Museum Fit for Martyrs” extolling the Palestinian exhibition of the belongings of little suicide bombers and rock-throwing “shaheeds.” Or her loving description of little eight year-old Alaa abu Shamala who copied out “with impressive neatness” a note to her mother: “I want to go now to the Zionist checkpoint. I will carry my knife with me. I will be a martyr.” This, Suzanne tells us helpfully, only a few hours before twenty Israeli teenagers were blown to bits outside a Tel Aviv disco.

Makes you all teary-eyed for the little sweetie, doesn’t it? The mother laughed, the article tells us, until the little dear ran off with a kitchen knife.

In another piece of real investigative reporting, she comes up with this: Israel Bus Stop Killer was on Medication. “Far from being the calculated aim of a dedicated terrorist” the murder of eight civilians and off-duty soldiers at a bus stop by Gazan bus driver Khalil Abu Olbeh was just a case of drowsiness caused by –- yes, you got it straight from Suzanne and absolutely no one else! -– “anti histamines and antibiotics” added to his medication for depression.

And then there is the little classic she calls “War on Thought” in which she calls that well-known hotbed of racial-hatred and terrorism 101 Bir Zeit University “the oldest and reputedly the best university in the West Bank and Gaza, “whose “prominent alumnae” include “Marwan Barghouti, leader of the Fatah militias in the West Bank.”

Suzanne, what can I say? You blew away all competition. I congratulate you, and your wonderful newspaper, the Guardian. Please accept the “Black Boot Award” with our best wishes.

And may I say, that we are so much looking forward to delivering it to you personally.

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