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

Turning Ploughshares Into Swords

To live in Jerusalem is to face the fact that here, in the holiest city in the world, there are vast numbers of inhabitants who are the kind of human beings willing, able, and committed to performing acts of sickening bloodshed, breaking every rule that human beings have created for themselves or learned or been taught. Worse, they involve G-d in their offenses, desecrating His name and His city in their maniacal search for the ultimate act of barbarism to promote their religion/politics/personal agenda.

Take Mr. Duwait. A convicted rapist and felon who sat in jail for two years, a resident of the East Jerusalem Arab village Sur Baher, a relative of the terrorist who killed young yeshiva students in Merkaz Harav, he climbed unto a huge tractor and with astonishing barbarism plowed down a major Jerusalem thoroughfare, sowing unimaginable destruction. As journalist Tom Gross put it:

“Terrorists purposely target civilians, and this terrorist was no different. He chose his victims carefully, starting his attack by motioning with his hand for a woman motorist to drive before him.

Then he rammed her car with the bulldozer’s shovel.

He then used the bulldozer to plow into two public buses carrying passengers, including many women and children which he could clearly see through the buses’ large glass windows. One of the buses was completely overturned, the other crashed. He then crushed a number of cars with their drivers still in them, and targeted several pedestrians chasing them down and running them over. A half-dozen cars were flattened and others were overturned by his Caterpillar vehicle as panic spread throughout the center of Israel’s capital. Traffic was halted, and hundreds of people fled through the streets as medics treated the wounded.

One car was dragged several meters by the bulldozer. A baby was pulled out by a passerby before the vehicle was crushed, with the child’s mother still inside. She died.

By the time his rampage was over, three Israeli civilians were dead and over 66 were wounded. Broken glass and blood were left down a stretch of one of Israel’s busiest streets.

All the time the terrorist screamed “Allah Akhbar” (God is great in Arabic) as he did so.

The terrorist was shot dead by a security guard working for a nearby bank as he approached Jerusalem’s main working class food market, Mahane Yehuda.”

And by a young soldier, the brother-in-law of the soldier who took out the Merkaz Harav terrorist. Imagine the woman with such a husband, and such a brother!

Bathsheva Unterman, the 33 year-old kindergarten teacher who unstrapped her baby and handed her to a passerby through the car window before being crushed, had been through many treatments and waited many years for her daughter to be born. Her baby was unharmed. Not so the baby in the overturned bus, who remains in critical condition.

Duwait’s family has not expressed sorrow for the victims. But what they do want to know is why it was necessary to have killed Duwait. That way, I suppose they’d be waiting for another Israel soldier to be kidnapped and murdered to set their darling free.

What is the moral of this story? As Rabbi David Booth said: “It was a case of someone turning a plowshare into a sword.” The killing here yesterday was no random act. It was deliberate and personal. It was -and is- family against family. On one side, there are their families, who raise their sons to be mass murderers and child killers, instilling in them a hate-filled culture and a religion with no respect for human life, encouraging them to kill and be killed.

And then there is our family, who raise our sons to risk their lives to save the lives of others, instilling in them a culture and religion filled with the true love of G-d and mankind and life. Our family will triumph over their family. Our sons over their sons. And when they sit in their tents of mourning, keening over their dead, perhaps they might reflect on how it is they have raised sons who must be hunted down and killed like mad dogs. Perhaps, if that happens, they will need to mourn no more.

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