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

Two Minutes

The festivities for Israel’s 65th Independence Day are in full swing. But for us in Israel, before the hora dancing, the plastic hammers, and the fireworks, there are the sirens. Two minutes of time to stand and think.

First, the siren goes off for Holocaust Memorial Day. It stops traffic. We get out on the highway, eyes closed, hearts heavy. The scenes rip through our souls: emaciated bodies in piles, starving children in rags, family members ripped apart and sent to their death in factory-like settings conceived by meticulous Germans with their talent for efficiency. We are there, all of us, the devout and the atheist, dressed in black gabardine and the latest Paris fashions, stuffed altogether into box-cars, locked in, helpless. Jews.

The siren seems to go on forever. Then it stops. We breathe again. We go back to our normal lives, only to be confronted exactly a week later with another siren, another two minutes, this time for Memorial Day for our fallen soldiers and victims of terror. Every year the number grows. This year it is 23,085 soldiers, and 974 victims of terror. Every single one was someone’s beloved: a son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister. Someone whose death ripped a hole in the lives of so many who will never stop grieving until the end of their days. Our soldiers, those strong, beautiful young Jewish men and women with their whole lives ahead of them whose promise was cut short not by accident, but by their conscious decision to sacrifice their personal safety and well-being to protect and cherish the precious dream that has finally come true for their people after thousands of years. Without them, there would be no State of Israel, no place for persecuted Jews to come to avoid the fate of every single Jew in every single generation since the fall of the Herodian temple in Jerusalem: a life of persecution, fear, prejudice, helplessness and causeless hatred.

Our victims of terror: babies in carriages wheeled by grandmothers in the park, elderly survivors sitting down with their families to a Passover seder in an Israeli hotel, teenagers riding a bus, young girls at a Tel Aviv night club killed by bombs, knives, guns wielded by hate-filled strangers….

Two minutes. And then the siren’s chilling wail fades slowly into silence. Night falls. We leave our homes and make our way to the center of town where bands play joyous music and crowds line the streets, our heads twinkling with flashing lights, waving flags. Soldiers and yeshiva boys, grandfathers and young children join hands and dance with joy; young girls in jeans, religious women with head coverings dance the hora as the music – Ashkenazi and Sephardi melodies brought from every Jewish Diaspora fills the night air.

We look on, moving our feet to the music, our faces alight with smiles, Ethiopian and Russian immigrants, American and British olim, camera-wielding tourists, all of us now Israelis, part of the largest Jewish community in the world, a beautiful, blooming, thriving, young, hopeful, joyous nation, whose people are among the happiest in the world, the youngest, the smartest, the most hopeful. We are all, citizens of Israel, experiencers of miracles. We have seen Divine prophecies come true, watched our country swell and prosper with the ingathering of the exiles, ingenious new industries. We have come home to our own land, and we have secured her with our labor and our love and our sacrifice. And every year, for as long as we live, we will stop twice and give two minutes each time to the blinding grief and unbearable sacrifice which gave birth to our joy and in which it is rooted, and then, we will go out and give thanks and rejoice.

God bless the land of Israel and her precious people. Happy 65th!

5 comments to Two Minutes

  • […] For another take on Israel’s Yom Hazikaron, see Naomi Ragen, Two Min­utes. […]

  • Jodie Jensen

    My heart goes out to those Israeli military members who have lost their lives. My own spouse was in the military and we feel the loss of our own service members and friends every day. What a sensitive way to remember their sacrifice. Our family has been doing their genealogy. During a visit to Denmark by our eldest daughter, she was able to hear the story of her uncle Lars who was part of the Danish national police. When Hitler’s puppets were forcing Denmark to round up their Jewish citizens for deportation and slaughter, the Danish police refused to be a part of the horror and were thrown into concentration camps. Our uncle Lars was one of the brave who refused to participate in the orders of the Nazis and was sent to a camp. Our daughter was in tears sharing her pride at the stalwart character of her uncle.
    May your celebration of this 65th anniversary of the Jewish nation be filled with joy and touching moments. I was in Israel last October and will return with my husband this coming October. It is a land one does not soon forget.
    Your books have been insightful and inspirational. They have brought me closer to my own faith in God (I am a Mormon.) and give me much food for thought. Thank you for sharing your culture and religion in a way that touches all who read your stories.
    Again, Happy Anniversary to Israel.

  • Happy 65th birthday, Israel, a most beautiful country, filled with joy, and a positive attitude the whole world is in dire need of. I have been fortunate to have seen the country and made part of it through our charismatic and most knowledgeable tour guide Herman.

  • Walt Gottesman

    Happy 65th to everyone in Medinat Yisrael! Thank you Naomi for your wonderful word-pictures in this post, mixed with sadness and joy. Thank you Israel, for being alive.

  • Jonathan

    HAPPY 65th BIRTHDAY, ISRAEL – Our beloved Country!