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 Moment of Truth

When I was a little girl growing up in New York City, I remember hearing a program about Auschwitz. My mother wouldn’t let me watch. But unknown to her, the television was perfectly audible in my bedroom. I learned about how the St. Louis had wandered the seas with Hitler’s prey, Jews looking for refuge, and how every country in the world had seen fit to close its doors. And how Hitler had learned from this that he could do as he wished with the Jews of Europe.

I learned about the camps: the Zyklon B gas, the way the doors were locks…

And so, as I lay in my bed in the dark and listened to everything that was said, a horrible realization and a wonderful revelation took place in my soul. The horror was the terrible vulnerability of the Jews, and the unthinkable things that had been done to them because of it. The wonder was that I was a Jew and I was still alive and well with my whole future ahead of me; that whatever had happened to my people in the past, I could now help to ensure it never happened again.

In the morning, I asked my mother what she and other American Jews, safe in their comfortable homes, had done to help the isolated Jews of Europe. “There was a protest,” she said vaguely. “In Madison Square Garden.”

I was ashamed. I would never let that happen again, I thought. When I grew up, I would make sure that my life and the lives of my people were inextricable. I would care. I would fight. I would risk. I would be strong. I would give all my love to my G-d, my people, my nation.

And so, in my early twenties I moved to Israel. I was always a little surprised that more of my American Jewish friends didn’t join me. After all, the history of the Jewish people was being written in the Jewish State, not in New York, or Maryland. I was always a little ashamed when American Jews felt that their checks entitled them to pretend that they were citizens of Israel, entitled to decide her political moves, to give her advice, and scold her.

I accepted the summer camps for American Jewish children who were sent for two months to undo years of a barren American upbringing which gave them so little in terms of information and inspiration and connection with the richness of their Jewish heritage. We had fought so many wars to give American Jews a summer camp. But I was happy that those two months actually did help stem the tide of assimilation, and that the children who came did find pride in being part of the Jewish people.

And now, when the moment of truth has come and the entire world is once again smelling Jewish blood, and another six million Jews have become increasingly isolated and attacked and unfairly maligned, now when the solidarity of American Jewry actually means the world to her brothers and sisters in Israel, American Reform Jews have decided that Israel isn’t even worth summer camp.

Let’s be honest. I know what some of you are thinking: Is this woman off her rocker? Me, go into a war zone? Me, risk my children’s lives when Israel has become Beirut. Get real, lady! I see the same pictures you do on CNN -– the death and mayhem.

But the truth is, I walk the streets of Jerusalem. I send my son to school on the buses. I travel to Tel Aviv, and Haifa and Netanya. Millions of Israelis do it everyday and are fine. If I were to travel on the subways of New York late at night, or walk into certain neighborhoods in Baltimore, or Los Angeles or Miami I might not be fine. I might also risk being dead.

And so, I would like to reassure you. Israel, whatever our enemies tell you with the help of CNN, is not a war zone. We take precautions, just as you do in America. We don’t mingle in large crowds. Some of us feel more comfortable in taxis then buses. We don’t travel every road in the country fearlessly, but there are many, many roads in which you need have no fears at all. That is the truth. The big bombs get big news. But that doesn’t mean that on a day to day basis every one of us fears for our lives.

The truth is, youth groups are coming and going every single day, the participants cautiously guarded and directed, leaving with wonderful memories. The irony is that this is the best time in the world to come. The prices are great. Nothing is crowded. The tourist industry is at its most welcoming.

Millions of us in Israel turn to the Jews of North America, South America, England, South Africa, Australia and Europe and say: My brothers and sisters. The hour is at hand to see if we are truly a nation, an indivisible family. To show how deep your commitment goes. Because if Israel is the insurance policy for world Jewry; if her losses and sacrifices have been made to ensure every Jew a homeland, a place where when a Jew has to go there, the country has to take them in, then the time has come for you to do your part.

We are not asking you to put on a uniform and take a gun. Nor would we ask you to send your child into battle. We are asking you a very simple, reasonable thing. Come to Israel and see what a beautiful country we Jews have built. Only you can fill the flights to Israel. Only you can fill her hotels.

Come and show the world there is such a thing as the Jewish people and that they are not cowards. They have strength, and faith and courage. Show the affluent, influential Arabs nations and their European allies that the Jews have come home to stay and that, under attack, we don’t not cower. Our numbers swell.

Do this not only for Israel and her economy, and her people’s morale. Do it so that when your son or daughter asks you in years to come: ”Mommy, Daddy, what did you do when the Jews of Israel were under attack?” you can give them an answer which will make you, and them, feel proud.

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