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.


The Great Agunah Debacle – Part Two

When Joseph slandered his brothers, the commentators tell us, he didn’t lie. He just told the truth with an evil intent. Rabbi Moshe Morgenstern, head of a special court that has been freeing agunot (women chained to husbands by religious law) when all attempts to reason with their corrupt husbands have failed, has been slandered, mostly by pious hypocrites who present their sin as a good deed; they’re defending the true faith.

I wrote to Rabbi Morgenstern and asked him to answer his critics. I leave my intelligent readers to draw their own conclusions.

NOTE: Rav Morgenstern wrote about himself elsewhere that he received smicha from Mesivta Torah Vadaath and Harav Moshe Feinstein 47 years ago.  He then studied privately with Rav Finestein and Rav Piekarsky for over 30 years and received smicha on the four codes of Shulchan Aruch.

Dear Mrs. Ragen,

I did keep my first wife an agunah for seven years 42 years ago because I loved her very much and we have a son. I turned over heaven and earth to save our marriage. It was then that I went to college, Columbia University, and got a BS degree in accounting. Nothing that I tried to save our marriage helped.

It was then that I realized that you cannot force any human being – man or woman – to live with someone they do not want. I consider what I did – not to give a GET for any period of time — a crime. I was one million percent wrong. It was then that I decided that I wanted to make sure that other women did not have to suffer the way my former wife did.

I have spent the last forty years mastering the four parts of the Shulchan Aruch. I received haskoma – approbation – from Rav Piekarski, a top Rosh Yeshiva at Lubavitz in Brooklyn, NY and Halachic posek to the Lubavitzer Rebbi on the four parts of the Shulchan Aruch. All my learning has been geared to finding a solution in accordance with Halacha to free agunot.

It is precisely because Rav Rackman and I do not earn our livelihood from the Rabbinate and allied professions, that we have the independence to be honest and defy the Rabbinical mafia, whose tentacles extend across the ocean to Europe and Israel. It is our observation that there are very few Rabbis who are hard-core opponents. But it is these few who intimidate all the others.

Our greatest opponents are those who have suffered financially because of the existence of our court, which has freed many agunot from their control and blackmail. All the Rabbinical Courts link the granting of a GET to an agunah with her acceptance of their arbitration in all domestic issues. The Rabbinical courts as a rule of thumb shortchange the agunah on all issues, favoring the husband. Thus, the agunah is forced to settle for a fraction of what she needs for survival and has to agree to give up custody of her children or otherwise remain celibate for eternity.

For this service, five Rabbis each charge $200 minimum per hour: There are three rabbis in the Bet Din; a Rabbi who represents the husband and a Rabbi who represents the wife. Thus the minimum cost of the Bet Din is one thousand dollars per hour. To arbitrate all the domestic issues takes ten to fifty hours. Thus each agunah represents a source of $10,000- $50,000.

Our Bet Din for Agunot has freed over three hundred agunot and we are slowly approaching the four hundred figure. We have thus cost our critics over three million dollars in lost revenues. Rather than find a solution to the blackmail and agony of the agunah , our critics turn heaven and earth to destroy Rav Rackman and myself, hoping in that way to again put all agunot under their control and mercy.

No, not all our critics are dishonest, unreliable, irresponsible, and uncaring. But even those critics whose hands are not stained by direct collusion with blackmail and coercion of agunot are to be faulted for not only doing nothing from the point of view of Halacha to free these women, and for doing nothing against the husbands and the rabbis who are corrupt. The coercion, insults, and threats directed towards not only my reputation, but my life, have not been duplicated towards recalcitrant husbands and those rabbis who are granting these men special dispensations to remarry (heter maoh rabbonim) without first giving their wives a GET — until she settles on their terms.

The agunah has a choice to free herself from the chains crafted by these husbands and such rabbis. There are thirty or forty Halachic solutions which our Bet Din uses to free agunot who would otherwise be forced to remain celibate for eternity. The problem is particularly severe In the United States and Europe, where the Rabbinical Courts do not have police powers as they do in Israel [NOTE: Israeli religious courts rarely use these powers — N.R.]. It is therefore mandatory for an honest Bet Din to annul marriages in order to prevent the debacle that agunot face.

Our Bet Din Lebayot Agunot will move heaven and earth to free any agunah . I invite agunot to contact me at: and use the mail request to present her problem. She may alternatively call me at 718 793 2135 in the United States.

Mrs. Ragen, I have the greatest admiration and respect for your honesty and commitment to true Torah principles.

Rav Moshe Morgenstern

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