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

What We Voted for, and Against

The night before the elections for Prime Minister, I dreamt I was standing in an election booth faced with three buttons. I knew exactly which one I wanted to press, but there seemed to be so many things I was being asked to vote for. I just kept pressing button after button, making choice after choice. Finally, I remember facing the buttons and pressing all three of them and realizing, to my horror, that I had accidentally voted for Ehud Barak.

I stood still in the booth filled with shame, hoping that he’d lose anyway and that no one would find out what I’d done. I remember being awash in a sense of failure: I had waited so long, and so patiently, to send Mr. Barak home and here, I had gone and voted for him.

I was glad when I awoke and found the sun shining and my time in the voting booth still ahead of me. I felt hopeful as I dressed and had breakfast and then hurried with my precious voter’s card to the local school building serving as our election headquarters. All around me, piles of garbage from the ongoing strike of municipal workers created a Third-World stench, and I found myself holding my nose as I hurried through them.

Although it was still early, there was a lively flow of my neighbors, apparently as anxious as I to put the little yellow note in the envelope and drop it into the box. And I thought: what a pleasure it is to live in a democracy, however flawed, in which a citizen can vent his frustration and anger by removing power from the powerful through a process as civilized as voting. After all, in other countries where people feel those in power are endangering their lives, heads have been know to roll.

As I placed Mr. Sharon’s name in the envelope, I checked it carefully to make sure it wasn’t misspelled, because of all the e-mail warnings I’d received that the left was planning to put fake ballots in the booths that would be disqualified. I was careful, too, to make sure I put in only one ballot. Nothing, I thought, a little frightened, could interfere with my vote being counted.

And then it was over, my little moment of empowerment. And I wondered if it was enough for me. If I’d really been allowed to say all I’d wanted. If my vote would be interpreted correctly by those who read the election results.

Because my vote, like my dream, was full of meanings, complex and passionate and life-affirming and angry and bitter… I wanted to say to Ehud Barak that his willingness to gamble with our history, our future, and our lives has earned him our unending contempt, distrust, and dislike.

I wanted to say to Yasir Arafat that his gunmens’ bullets (that I believe are totally under his control- because otherwise he risks having the bullets turned against him) have shattered the delicate newborn shell of peace that took seven years to grow, killing the tiny fledgling within.

I wanted to say to Mr. Ben Ami, that I hope I never have to see his face again in any public forum, and that he will not be able to hold public office in this country as long as both of us shall live.

I wanted to say to Mr. Sharon that I have given him my very tentative support– not the Likud Party, which consists, like all of Israel’s political parties, of mostly aging, corrupt, unemployable mediocrities with neither faith nor character. He will have that support as long as he displays an uncompromising stance on security. We expect him to treat the Palestinians as the American Indians are treated: with respect. And we expect him to respond to shootings and bombings and riots by the Palestinians in the same way the Americans would respond to similar activities by American Indians with land grievances in Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico…

As I rode home, I passed the home of Dr. Shimanovitz, whose two young sons were injured in a terrorist attack in the Mahane Yehuda shuk during Oslo. And the home of the Edri’s, whose son was killed in Lebanon during Oslo. And the Wachsman’s, whose son was murdered by Palestinians who kidnapped and held him hostage during Oslo.

And as I walked through my front door, I realized that most of all, I hoped that my vote would mean an end to the years of horror unleashed by the phony rhetoric and dangerous defeatism of Oslo. That I, and all my fellow Israelis, might once again experience what civilized people all over the civilized world enjoy when they walk their streets and enter their homes: safety and freedom from fear. Because we’ve learned the hard way that that is the only kind of peace worth having. It is the only kind I will ever again give my vote to pursue.

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