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 Story of Roz and Paul Schneid – Part II – Homeless and Wandering

Many of you have asked me what is happening with the Schneids of Netzar Chazani, the people I wrote about in Moment Magazine this month. Paul and Roz, who are leading members of their community, stayed with their neighbors until soldiers — members of the airforce in which Paul’s son serves as a senior officer– came knocking on their door. They had asked for containers and received them. By the way, these containers are costing the settlers $2,000 each, and they will be charged an additional $1,500 for moving costs. All the compensation owed them will also be taxed!

And they are not getting much. The night before, in order to spare the young soldiers as much pain as possible, they did the packing themselves. When the soldiers knocked on the door of their home, they said: “I’m so sorry. I know how hard this must be for you.” A group of officers came to call on the family because of Paul’s son. They embraced. Then they left the house together for the last time.

Silently, they marched with their neighbors to the synagogue, the same synagogue whose Rabbi was brutally murdered by Palestinian terrorists two years ago. This is no bedroom community. This is not a neighborhood, as most of us understand it. This is an extended family who have sat shiva in each other’s homes, banded together to help when thousands of rockets fell in their backyards and on their roofs. They have been in a furnace of terror together, and have emerged welded into one cohesive unit: Sephardim and Ashkenazim. Teachers and farmers and businessmen and grocery store owners. They love each other. And they love the soldiers.

At the synagogue, soldiers and settlers suddenly put their arms around each others shoulders and sand songs of the land of Israel, each quietly wiping away tears. This went on for two hours. Paul was asked to speak. He tried so hard to be upbeat and hopeful. He spoke of their history together, how they had come from all different backgrounds. How they were a microcosm of Israel. He looked at the soldiers and told them they were one. ” When we slip our hands together and hold each other, we can’t fight. We can only build.” They could destroy the buildings. Take away the land. But the spirit within the community, the oneness, the eagerness to continue building the land was unquenched within them. The community asked only one thing: Not to be separated. Not to be sent to different apartments in different cities. To be left together as a unit.

They had been saying this from the beginning to everyone who would listen. And as any psychologist would tell you, they needed each other to get through this.

They were loaded peacefully onto buses. It was then the nightmare began for the wonderful people of Netzar Chazani. No stops were made for bathrooms. They were on the bus for six hours.
At their request, they went first to the Kotel.

Yeshivat Hakotel gave them a place to sleep. The next morning, according to the “plans” of the Disengagement Authority (SELA) the community were sent up to the Golan Heights, Chispin. A five hour drive. They were originally told they could stay there until September 1. But on Saturday night, after all they’d been through, they were told by the hotel they needed to get out of their rooms to make way for other guests on Sunday morning! They were offered dilapidated dorm rooms, without air conditioning, instead. Fearing for the health of their children, they refused. Overwrought, tempers flared and the entire community decided to march back to their homes in Netzar Chazani. That’s where they are now. On the road. Exhausted, and angry, and heartbroken.

Paul and Roz aren’t with them. He needed to have chemotherapy today. But when he got to the hospital, they said he needed to pick up his dose at the pharmacy. When he got to the pharmacy, he was told he needed a letter from his local clinic. He patiently explained that he no longer had a local clinic ( just as he explained to the supermarket cashier that he had no telephone number to put on his credit card receipt…..) It took him three hours to straighten it out. Sick, tired, jobless, homeless, he and his wife wait to see what will happen next, and where they will sleep tonight.

I have heard some people say:” Well, what do people expect when they didn’t make any plans? When they refused to cooperate?”

I know it’s hard for most people to understand, but they weren’t worried about themselves. They were concerned about the state of mind of the community if they went off and fended for themselves, concerned about setting an example that would encourage everyone to go their own way, helping to destroy the only thing left: the community and it’s spirit.

They are a rare, endangered species: idealists. Like beautiful old houses and rare animals, the special community of Netzar Chazani must be preserved. That’s all its people want. Not luxury hotels. Not huge houses with swimming pools. They want to be together in a place that will afford them their basic necessities. SELA, whose incompetence is a national disgrace, suggested sending them to Eilat (six hours away, in hotels that are empty for a reason: 45 degree summer heat. They offered to send them to the Dead Sea (ditto). And then they sent them to the Golan, without bothering to check how long the hotel could host them.

There is so much empty land all over the Galilee.
Why couldn’t they have simply put a caravan park there? “We couldn’t force people. Decide for them where to go. And they weren’t talking to us,” SELA has been whining. They remind me of the rapist who tells the victim: If you only wouldn’t have struggled so much, you would have made it so much easier for yourself.”

For shame. For shame. For shame. For shame. For shame.

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