Naomi Ragen is an American-born novelist, playwright and journalist who has lived in Jerusalem since 1971 and who writes regularly in the Jerusalem Post and to her mailing list about Israel and Jewish issues.
Naomi has published nine internationally best selling novels, and is the author of a hit play (Women's Minyan) which has been performed more than 500 times in Israel's National Theatre (Habimah) as well as in the United States and Argentina.




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With her newest novel, The Sisters Weiss, 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.
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.


Naomi is a sought-after lecturer all over the world, and her fall 2014 lecture schedule in the US and Canada is quickly filling up. If your group is interested in hosting Naomi, please click here.


The Haredi War on Women

The latest craze - modesty glasses for Orthodox Jewish men so they won't be able to see women.

I Am Not Sitting in the Back of the Bus - Why, together with other women, I filed suit to put an end to the primitive and degrading gender-segregated bus lines now popping up all over Israel.

Read my original article about how I was attacked by a religious fanatic because I refused to move to the back (the "women's section") of a Jerusalem bus.

Read about an American woman beaten because she refused to move to the back of a Jerusalem bus.

Read my article explaining why segregated buses are just the latest crazy idea of fanatics with too much free time on their hands.

Read about haredi women who want to sit with their families and don't want to be forced to crowd together in the back of the bus.

Israel Bus Rule Sparks Religious Row - How the liberal western media perceive all this fanaticism.

Thousands of Deadly Islamic Terror Attacks Since 9/11




Naomi’s Posts

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Current time in Jerusalem

A Comparison of Sarah Shapiro’s Book and Naomi Ragen’s Book

I eventually won this case when the Supreme Court overturned the District Court’s scandalous decision against me. Click here for the details.

This chapter by chapter comparison shows that Shapiro’s claims that I copied my book from her are totally delusional.
There are some minor similarities of language, but the books are as different as night and day. Shapiro has made it clear that her motivation is to get me to remove my books from the bookstore shelves, because she cannot bear what I have to say about her community’s way of life.

Shapiro’s claims per chapter

Sotah

The fictional story of three haredi sisters in Meah Shearim, based on a newspaper article on the Mishmeret Hatzinus by Yitzchak Ben Horin, describing an adulterous affair between two married charedi neighbors, and how the woman is expelled from her home whenthe affair is discovered.

Growing with my Children, A Jewish Mother’s Diary

The autobiographical diary of an newly observant American olah, mother of five small children, pregnant with her sixth, attending a haredi parenting course to help her stop constantly beating her children and screaming at them.

none no prologue Prologue: feelings about feminism, motherhood, beginning class
none Chapter 1
Three sisters discuss upcoming marriage of eldest
Chapter 1
Diary entries June 22- June 26 Beginning her class
none Chapter 2
Description of calm, ordered life in the household of the Reich family of Meah Shearim
Chapter 2
Diary entries June 29-July 5 Dealing with patterns of anger at children
none Chapter 3
Dinah Reich fantasizes about joining Israeli army, marrying. Chaya Leah annoys her teacher
Chapter 3
Diary entries June6-July 22 Shapiro beating her small children and yelling at them less frequently. Workshop discussion on anger and guilt.
none Chapter 4
Dvorah, eldest sister, arranges for a shidduch for her younger sister Dina, and goes shopping for clothes
Chapter 4
Diary entries July 8-July 22 trying to get the baby to give up the bottle. More violence toward her small children: slapping them and yelling at them so she can get to her parenting class. Nauseous and tired, she thinks she might be pregnant. Takes pregnancy test. Test results are positive. She is so tired.
none Chapter 5
Dina’s first shidduch Date with Abraham Breitman
Chapter 5
Diary entries: fear of being pregnant. Goes to get advice from Rav, who tells her it is her nature to be an angry person, and she will please G-d if she overcomes her nature. Our weaknesses are given to us by G-d to help us grow closer to Him.
none Chapter 6
Dvorah fears Dina’s shidduch won’t work out because of money
Chapter 6
Diary entries August 31-September 30 Discouraged about class. Kids still fighting. She’s still yelling. Thrilled the babysitter thinks she’s a good mother. Wonders at loss of creativity.
none Chapter 7
Dina’s parents meet prospective bridegroom’s parents to discuss monetary arrangements.  The shidduch doesn’t work out.
Chapter 7
Visits America. Resents children bothering her when she’s on vacation. Meets with successful sisters, feels inadequate. Feels dread about going home. Goes home to Sanhedria Murchevet. Likes herself better. Yelling and hitting less.”How I pray the habit of speaking calmly takes root in me.”
none Chapter 8
Description of Garfinkel the shadchan, called in to find Dina a shidduch
Chapter 8
Children vie for her attention and love. She learns to “appreciate the moment.”
none Chapter 9
Younger sister Chaya Leah begins flirtation with boy from fish store
Chapter 9
Children fight over Lego – Talks to her son’s physically abusive rabbi about not hitting him.  The rabbi says:”I only hit to keep them a little scared so that they’ll study hard. It’s good for the boys” Shapiro disagrees, but  is “happy she made a good impression” on the rabbi, who strikes her as “a warm devoted teacher.” She accepts this. She is also physically abusive towards her children and like the rebbe “ (from time to time go overboard) p. 169.  Husband also finds teacher:”really sweet man and a caring teacher.” They discover by Israeli law it’s illegal for teachers to hit children.  Her daughter tells her: I want to kill you.” She imagines slapping her in the face, but instead drags her to the door and threatens to throw her out. Calms down.  Son Danny filled with rage. Friend tells her she doesn’t know how to discipline her kids.
none Chapter 10
Dina’s diary about her disappointment with the lost shidduch.
Chapter 10
“How boring it must be to have one baby and not be pregnant. Too easy. I’m lucky to have been given such a challenge. Daughter throws tantrum. Gets smacked.Reads her stories about free will as she’s screaming. Argues with husband over buying an apartment. Gives birth to new baby girl. “A scream flew out of me. Such an embarrassment.”
None Chapter 11
Judah Gutman, carpenter, prepares for his first date with Dina Reich
Chapter 11
March 21-April 1987 “so tired”Despite fears of Divine punishment, baby healthy.  Doesn’t love baby yet. Actually, didn’t love any of her kids at birth Comes home to children with measles, pesach cleaning; “I feel no love for babies……it’s no good to have too many children. I can’t do a good job. I feel absolutely no love for anyone. “243)
None Chapter 12
Dina and Judah go to feed birds in Yemin Moshe
Chapter 12
Children squabble. Jealous of sister “for being a new mother, unjaded.” New home. Screaming at kids: “I’ve had enough of this,” I yelled, Amidst yelling and crying and hitting, I thought: “I have lost control.”Hurt and angry at children’s rudeness.“What’s wrong with me?”Workshop suggest put black pepper on children’s tongue’s to stop insults and dirty words.  She tries is out on her children but kids hide the pepper.
Shapiro gets sick. It’s low blood sugar.In chapter 4, Shapiro also feels tired and nauseaus. Hopes she has flu, but finds out she’s  pregnant.In chapter 5 she goes to a Rav for advice on controlling her temper. He gives her standard Rabbinic advice to accept her nature and try to overcome it. Chapter 13
Dvorah gets flu. She’s afraid she’s pregnant.  Yells at baby. Finds out she’s not pregnant.Explains difficulties to husband. Gives her standard rabbinic advice.  They discuss birth control. He is hurt and shocked. He takes care of her. She grows to love him.
Chapter 13
Decides for Purim to let her kids eat junk food. Takes kids shopping. Gets drunk: “I  changed from  an incredibly tense fed up police officer to self-indulgent pleasure seeker.” Realizes how her children must feel.Sick. Fever. Dr. says its low blood pressure. Mother comes to take care of her.
none Chapter 14
Dina goes out with a baker and an accountant. Yehuda gives Dina a present.
Chapter 14
Son damages plants. Daughter Elisheva throws tantrum. Girls bake challahs. Eli gets toilet trained. Husband goes to army.writes:”Hate being a mother.” Attends seminar on shalom bayit. Is told to feed husband’s need for dominance and honor, and he will feed her need for love.
none Chapter 15
Shadchan negotiates match between Dina and Judah.
Chapter 15
Tries to talk mother’s helper, gentile, out of converting to marry Israeli boyfriend. Girl quits.  Religious Italian girl takes her place.  Girl disapproves of Shapiro’s messy house and noisy disrespectful children. Shapiro is hurt and embarrassed, feels inadequate. Begins yelling and hitting  kids again.  Encouraged by group to fire girl.  Then rehires her. Girl continues to complain about her rude kids and noisy, messy house.
none Chapter 16
Dina decides to marry Judah
Chapter 16
Prepares vegetable soup. Wonders if her life is real or fake. Gives into daughter who doesn’t want to eat breakfast. Goes to Adahan class. Goes to Rabbi’s class.  Children’s fighting out of control. Two year old takes baby’s blanket. Baby learns to say “no”. Trying to spend time with children. Rewards with junk food working. More mussar from Rav: Difficulties bring out the best. Feels like a good mother. Grateful late children arrive home safely. Poem about taking out garbage.
Afterword
Hope this journal helps others to improve their behaviorEnd of Shapiro’s book
none Chapter 17
Chaya Leah and Moishe discuss differences in sexual practices of Hasidim and mitnagdim.
none Chapter 18
Dina goes to mikveh classes.
none Chapter 19
Te’naim ceremony. Dina secretly  unhappy with house, furniture.
none Chapter 20
Shopping for a wig
none Chapter 21
Dina’s wedding night
none Chapter 22
Moishe and Chaya Leah caught together. He gets beaten up by Mishmeret Haziniyut.
none Chapter 23
Dina and Judah’s married life
none Chapter 24
Noach Saltzman, Dina’s married neighbor, takes a romantic interest in her.
none Chapter 25
Dina’s mother dies
none Chapter 26
After the funeral, lives change. Noach makes progress
none Chapter 27
Dina works in mother’s store
none Chapter 28
Dina and Noach begin relationship
none Chapter 29
Dina thinks of Noach, hides feelings.
none Chapter 30
Noach visits Dina in the shop.  They begin their affair.
none Chapter 31
Dina bored with husband
none Chapter 32
Dina and Noach discovered by mishmeret hatziniyut
none Chapter 33
Dina and Noach are physically intimate
none Chapter 34
Chaya Leah and Moishe write letters while he is in the army.
none Chapter 35
Dina agrees to go to hotel with Noach.
none Chapter 36Mishmeret hatzinyut show photos of wife with Noach to Judah. He rejects them.
none Chapter 37
Dina thrown out of home by mishmeret hatziniyut. Goes to America
none Chapter 38
Joan, a kind, rich secular Jew in Manhattan.
Shapiro claims this is the same as the relationship between  Shapiro and religious Italian girl who disapproves of her messy house and rude children(Chapter 15) Chapter 39
Secular, American Joan meets haredi, Israeli Dina. She tries to understand the girl’s religious beliefs and needs – cholov yisrael, two sets of dishes.  Dina is shocked at American and secular ways: how Joan and her husband speak to each other, how the children speak to each other and their mother.
Shapiro, Italian girl describes her strict upbringing, lack of manners in Shaprio’s children. (chapter 15) Chapter 40
Dina expresses dismay over how children behave, describes her own home.  Two women fight, then make up.  Dina cleans house, feeling unhappy about being a maid.  She is horrified that children are watching a violent movie and tries to stop them. Joan tells her to mind her own business, that the movie is just fine.  Joan  delighted by the  good job she’s done cleaning the house.
Shapiro claims that JOAN’S remark to Dina about not imposing her very different religious standards (Dina is a haredi Jew) on her children similar to Shapiro’s idea that her MOTHER’S HELPER will have different housecleaning standards with she’s a busy mother (CHAPTER 13) Chapter 41
Joan and husband discuss religion and how to accommodate Dina. Joan visits reform Rabbi, he is contemptuous of Dina.  Joan takes Dina shopping and out to eat.Dina amazed by beauty of city. She and Joan discuss their religious vs. secular values in child raising.  They begin to understand each other over the religious-secular divide.
none Chapter 42
Dina teaches Joan about Shabbat
none Chapter 43
Noach visits her. Wants her back. She has a nervous breakdown.
none Chapter 44
Judah urged to divorce Dina by mishmeret hatzinus. Chaya Leah and Moishe meet, future together seems impossible
none Chapter 45
Dina in mental hospital.
none Chapter 46
Journal of Dina’s psychiatrist about her case Joan visits Dina. Takes her home. Helps to introduce her to art and music.
none Chapter 47
Dina and Rabbi speak  about forgiveness.
none Chapter 48
Dina weaves a tapestry, and decides to go back home.
none Chapter 49
Dina contemplates her life as she flies home to her family, hoping for forgiveness.
none Chapter 50
Dina and Devorah reconcile. Both Devorah and her husband are kind people.
none Chapter 51
Dina reconciles with her father
none Chapter 52
Dina’s father visits shadchan and asks him to make a match between Chaya Leah and Moishe. He agrees.
Claims Dina’s recognition that to be a good person she doesn’t have to be a haredi Jew is same as Shapiro’s realization that her children’s fights and difficult personalities are normal. (Chapter 16) Chapter 53
Dina reconciles with Judah.
none Epilogue
Joan visits Dina’s store in Safed.

Shapiro’s major claims revolve around the same three pages she brought claim against me in 1994.

Her new claims compare Shapiro’s minor relationship with a very religious mother’s helper, who disapproves of her messy house and rude children, which she compares to the  major relationship between of Dina to Joan, which describes secular and religious Jews finding the good in each other’s lifestyles and beliefs and learning to love each other across that cultural abyss.  This relationship was revised according to editorial guidelines, and has nothing to do with Shapiro’s book.