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.


The Method

I was watching the news the other day, and saw the Knesset committee debating when the Electric Company can best move its turbine. One of the ultra-Orthodox M.K’s was holding forth passionately about how much cheaper it would be to move it on a weekday. When a Labor Party MK looked at him in amazement and began to explain the great additional cost of a weekday move, as opposed to moving it along the highways Friday night, the ultra-Orthodox MK did something very curious: he didn’t stop talking for a minute, shouting down all the facts, reasons and opinions of his fellow Knesset Member.

This kind of behavior has become so commonplace that I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about it, if I hadn’t myself experienced this method of debate a day before as a guest on Channel One’s Documedia with a self-identified “ultra-Orthodox woman journalist” named Rivka (as a kindness, I won’t identify her further.) I put this in parenthesis because, first, Ms. Rivka certainly didn’t look ultra-Orthodox (sandals, no stockings) and certainly didn’t sound like a journalist (the lack of reporting of sex crimes in the ultra-Orthodox press, she argued, proved that there are fewer sex crimes in the ultra-Orthodox world). But what put her directly into the ultra-Orthodox camp was her style: Listen to nothing that is said, and talk non-stop, whatever nonsense comes into your head. Also, personal attacks, the lower the better, are a good way to avoid the issues.

Our topic was why the ultra-Orthodox press refuses to print articles informing their readership about serial rapists and other sex offenders. After asserting that this is a wonderful method of preventing sex crimes, as proven by how few — if any — such crimes exist in the ultra-Orthodox world, Ms. Rivka went on to say that evil people like myself, who write made up fantasies about nonexistent abuses in the ultra-Orthodox world are the true problem.

I tried to explain to her that she was living in a fantasy world. Take, for example, the evidence of hundreds of sex crimes against children in Bnei Brak attested to by her own ultra-Orthodox brethren.

Mr. Daniel Fine, member of a Bnei Brak vigilante group modeled after the Modesty Patrol, defended himself for attacking a yeshiva teacher with an iron bar because the teacher was allegedly meeting a young girl in hotels and molesting her. In court testimony, Mr. Fine said his overwrought behavior was a result of having been witness to hundreds and hundreds of sexually molested children in Bnei Brak. According to Mr. Fine, there are 300 – 400 such cases a year in Bnei Brak. Parents of such children won’t go to the police or the other authorities because of their “religious sensitivity,” Mr. Fine said, and so he and his friends have no choice but to attack such offenders themselves.

When I related this information to Ms. Rivka, she began a nonstop harangue of personal insults and silly excuses which left me breathless.

Had I been able to get a word in edgewise, I would have told Ms. Rivka that the ultra-Orthodox method of letting piles of stinking laundry pile up in their streets rather than risking exposure and embarrassment by actually washing them, used to work, but doesn’t anymore. The piles are simply too big and smell too much. One needs a special talent, which Ms. Rivka and those like her obviously possess, to continue ignoring such issues as hundreds of sexually abused children whose parents refuse to act responsibly by going to the police, getting the children psychological help, or publicizing the information among friends and neighbors, thus leaving their communities vulnerable to further attacks.

Or the problem of hundreds of abused ultra-Orthodox women, abandoned by rabbis and the community, who know they will be thrown out penniless into the streets the moment they open their mouths to complain. Or the problem of true Torah scholars who are ostracized when they dare to utter a word of protest against the grand scale thievery of governent funds taking place in the yeshiva world. With great talent for not seeing and not hearing, and obviously not smelling, Ms. Rivka and her ilk manage to navigate their way around the misery and corruption all around them, shouting down anyone foolishly optimistic enough to call their attention to the urgent problems crying out for solutions.

Ours is a wonderful world, Ms. Rivka and people like her shout, loud enough so they don’t hear anything else. After all, just read what’s going on in the secular world as reported in the secular press. After all, when you read HaTzofeh, and HaModia and Yated Ne’aman you’ll never read about such things happening in our wonderful, perfect world. And we all know, if the ultra-Orthodox press doesn’t report it , it can’t possibly be happening.

I guess in that world, on those terms, Ms. Rivka is a journalist.

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