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

Then and Now

I was watching an old re-run of the movie about Entebbe tonight.

And there was this scene where the IDF is making elaborate preparations to fly half-way around the world to free endangered citizens of Israel. There would be a car resembling Idi Amin’s vehicle which would be unloaded from a plane. There would be split-second timing involved. It was so dangerous, so far away, involving so much international intrigue and possible disaster. So the generals go to the Minister of Defense, presenting their plans to him. Shimon Peres, playing himself in the movie, looks them over and says: “I will recommend that the Cabinet accept this and move forward.”

I scratched my head. Shimon Peres? The dove? Said that?

And I thought about Sderot, and the rockets that fall daily on homes, one narrowly missing a school full of children only last week. Sderot, not thousands of miles away in deepest Africa, but a stone’s throw (rocket launch?) away. And yet, our government can’t seem to muster the energy to do the simplest and most understandable of actions to stop it: take over the area from which the rockets are being launched and keep it rocket free.

Now, why would that pose a problem when years ago rescuing Israelis being held hostage in Uganda was unanimously approved by the Israeli government?

What has happened between then and now?

I have thought about this long and hard. It is not that our capabilities have diminished. If anything, the Israeli army is stronger and incomparably better equipped then ever. There is only one reason that we, the same people who did not hesitate to launch planes to invade another continent despite the risks of international condemnation, are now too afraid to launch the necessary military strike that is called for to protect our backyards: a loss of faith in the rightness of our cause.

Years of international propaganda in the form of CNN and BBC broadcasts aimed at our living rooms have somehow convinced – at least our leadership – that the Jews of Israel must live with terror; must not make waves, must, in fact, wait for the bombs to actually hit a school and be able to produce pictures (G-d forbid!) of childrens’ bloodied bodies in hospitals or parents wailing at funerals. Only then will the spineless men and women of the Kadima government be willing to tarnish their images on international talk shows by doing what they must do: act decisively and pre-emptively to save lives. Before he was elected, I met with Ehud Olmert. This preceded the “disengagement” from Gaza. I asked him why he was in favor of it. His answer: “If it will save even one life, we must do it.”

The life of an Israeli soldier or settler, I assumed.

Where, Mr. Olmert, is that wonderful concern for the lives of the children of Sderot? Is there any question that taking over the rocket-launching sites of Gaza will stop the attacks and save lives? But here too, there is a change. “If it saves only one life” was the mantra that allowed Israel to uproot and destroy whole Jewish communities. Where is that mantra now when we must uproot and destroy the terrorists in Gaza who have moved into the rubble of Jewish homes to threaten the lives of our children?

What is at question here is the backbone of a nation and its will to survive.

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