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.


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

November 2014
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Current time in Jerusalem

Sarah Shapiro “Copies” From Other Authors

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

These are examples of Sarah Shapiro’s “copying” from other works, without any acknowledgment whatsoever. Apparently, she is very forgiving of her own “copying” but ruthless in her persecution of others who she thinks may have “copied” from her. She also claims ownership of words and phrases used by many, many authors before her.

I don’t consider that Sarah Shapiro did anything wrong, except in quoting the Carole King song without permission and without giving Carole King credit. In contrast to prose, there are very strict rules for quoting song lyrics, and it costs a lot of money to obtain permission. So sometimes authors try to get away with it.

Prose, as I said, is different, and the similarities between Shapiro’s book and those of Miriam Adahan and Miriam Levi do not, in my opinion, constitute plagiarism, even though the judgment against me acknowledged that she had copied from their books. The similarities merely reflect the normal way that the ideas of one author end up in the consciousness of another author, who gives the ideas his or her own expression. This has been done to me as well, and I have never sued anyone for it, because this sort of thing has been going on since writing was first invented, and there is nothing wrong with it.

Often the same idea occurs to more than one author. Titles are similar, and sometimes even almost identical. The title of Sarah Shapiro’s book (Growing With My Children) is “remarkably similar,” to put it mildly, to that of Ellen Parker’s book (Growing Up With My Children), which was published a few years earlier. But this is perfectly fine. It is just another instance of something that has happened repeatedly: two people independently have very similar ideas at the same time.

In fact, Sarah Shapiro claims ownership of texts and ideas that are not her original creation. Some examples:

  1. “An apple can’t become a pear” – sorry, Sarah, but this idea appeared in print long before you wrote your book.
  2. “Don’t be angry at a table” – sorry, Sarah, but George Washington, the first President of the United States, wrote about this a very long time ago, and even he was just expressing a well-worn cliché of his times.
  3. “I forgive you” — Puhleez! This phrase occurs numerous times in the Bible. Will Sarah next accuse Moses of plagiarism?

Courts all over the world have upheld the right to be inspired, and in doing so have enabled writers to write freely without having to worry about being sued, as I have been, for a similar word or sentence fragment here and there.

The rule of Jewish Law that applies to money (דין פרוטה כדין מאה, a penny is the same a hundred dollars) does not apply to writing. If it did, a writer would be able to sue on the basis of a single word. That would spell the end of creative writing.

In fact, rabbis of all periods quoted long passages from each other without attribution, despite their own admonition that האומר דבר בשם אומרו מביא גאולה לעולם – whoever names his source brings redemption to the world. These words were often honored more in the breach than in the observance in regard to writing, and this shows that the rabbis never saw the rule of דין פרוטה כדין מאה as applying to writing. Perhaps it was because they understood that there can be no ownership of ideas, and that the more applicable rule was זה נהנה וזה אינו חסר – one benefits while the other suffers no loss.

Let me be clear about this: I firmly believe that neither Sarah Shapiro nor I is a plagiarist.

Sarah Shapiro reproduced parts of this copyrighted song by Carole King in her book with no attribution.

“You Just Call Out My Name”

Lyrics and Music: Carole King

Growing With My Children – Sarah Shapiro

Page 354

When you’re down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, whoa nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest nights.

You just call out my name,
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yeah baby
To see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall,
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah.
You’ve got a friend.

If the sky above you
Should turn dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind should begin to blow

Keep your head together and call my name out loud
And soon I will be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you got to do is call
And I’ll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Hey, ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend?
People can be so cold.
They’ll hurt you and desert you.
Well they’ll take your soul if you let them.

Oh yeah, but don’t you let them.

You just call out my name and you know wherever I am
Ill come running to see you again.
Oh babe, don’t you know that,
Winter spring summer or fall,
Hey now, all you’ve got to do is call.
Lord, I’ll be there, yes I will.
You’ve got a friend.
You’ve got a friend
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend.
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend.
You’ve got a friend.

Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest nights.

If the sky above you
Should turn dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind should begin to blow


You just call out my name and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.







Winter spring summer or fall,
Hey now, all you’ve got to do is call.
Lord, I’ll be there, yes I will
You’ve got a friend.
You’ve got a friend.



Shapiro also “copied” from these books by Miriam Adahan and Miriam Levi, without attribution. This was acknowledged in the court’s decision.


Effective Jewish Parenting
Miriam Adahan

Raising Children to Care
Miriam Levi

Growing with my Children
Sarah Shapiro

You may need to yell or show the child how upset you are about his behavior


…give up yelling and being hysterical.” (192)

… instead of hitting, pinching or yel­ling…. You will also realize how normal it is to have setbacks and to lose control at times.  (261)

your impulse to hit and yell.  (227)

even though she yells, blunders and loses control at times. (xxii)

…I started hitting. …” I, the victim, smacked him hard on the backside. …An hour later, I’m continuing to yell… It feels as if yelling is my only weapon  (66)

“It shouldn’t be this way; I shouldn’t have such a difficult life! ”I’ve had a rough night…. “They shouldn’t be this way; they shouldn’t cause me so much aggravation!” (10)

“I can’t stand this any more…. “I’m going to collapse. I just can’t manage. I’m a failure.,,,”.


He’ll drive me absolutely crazy! He can’t do this!  I smacked him hard on his backside. “What else can I do? Any mother would feel this way! Poor me!” (66)

“This child (or person) is hurting me deliberately. He does not respect or love me. He’s going to be even more impossible to handle as time goes on.” (166)

“He’s got to know how bad this is! He’ll do this all the time if I don’t teach him! (66)

Rabbi S. R. Hirsch defines holiness as the attainment of moral freedom (Vayikra 4:24).

. . . the whole purpose of your creation is just this, to eradicate [negative] middoth and evil dispositions and to change them for good ones. You are capable of doing so and obligated to do so, and no excuses will avail you. Granted it is not easy to go against one’s nature, yet you certainly possess the power to prevail and fulfill your mission valiantly, since God does not act as a tyrant toward His creatures. (Lev Eliyahu, page 213) (36)

When you transcend your nature (88)

You are tired and exhausted because a sick child kept you up all night, and you are worried about how you will manage to get your work done the next day. Don’t make yourself angry by thinking, “It shouldn’t be this way; I shouldn’t have such a difficult life!” Tell yourself, instead, “I’ve had a rough night. I’ll be tiredand probably find it difficult to get my work done, but I guess I can cope.” (10)

The more needy and tired I became, the more he stayed away.(26)

I’m always tired.” (171)

The other day, I screamed at the kids and caught myself saying, “I’m tired, that’s why I have no control over myself (133)

…” or you happen to be very tired at the moment.  (201)

You are not yourself when you are sick, in pain, or very tired, hungry or upset, and neither is your child. (220)

That tiredness … constantly tired…(80)

“and I’m tired. I’m so tired (81)

My youngest was five months old and I was just starting to get back to my old self after a difficult pregnancy, when I found out I was pregnant. At first, I just cried in disbelief and anxiety. I didn’t feel I could handle it all (179)

The baby is just four months old! It couldn’t be….I don’t know how I can go through it again so soon. (80)

Why is my life so hard? How will I manage?…I felt I was about to collapse.  (93)

I had been wanting to give my ….children more attention…. Now it was all down the drain.

I am so angry that I won’t be able to give this baby, Eli all the love to which he is entitled… …

At first I had felt ashamed of my feelings (179)

You should be thanking G-d not waving your puny fists at him (84)

…But my Rebbitzenassured me thatI was normal, and that not every woman feels the same about every pregnancy. She helped me to get in touch with my sense of inner strength and was a wonderful source of support. She never put me down for expressing my deepest feelings. She just heard me out. In the end, by repeating my assertion of faith, I did become truly accepting  (179)

Are you causing yourself unnecessary tension by having “anticipatory agony” about an upcoming event or by thinking that you know for sure how your children will turn out, or that you will suffer certain mental or physical illnesses or punish­ments? Are you playing “doomsday prophet (259)

“Yes, it is difficult,” Miriam was saying.It is normal for you to feel upset and all right for you to talk about it. There is absolutely no reason to feel guilty.”  (85)

“Being unhappy about his pregnancy is not an aveirah,” she told me, “and therefore deserves no punishment. Hakadosh Baruch Hu doesn’t demand that we’re saints.” (85)

I was scared that by speaking openingly and complaining, I was inviting punishment (84)


… during which the members imagine themselves to be in the midst of a distressing situation and then see themselves responding in a calm, confident, constructive manner. (262)

I cannot imagine that it would be on account of pregnancy. (80)


I felt so helpless, like a child. Some days I felt nothing. I was just numb. (233)

Finding out that I’m pregnant…has served as an unwanted reminder that I’m helpless (86)

I felt crazy. I hated myself. I wanted to run away. I thought it would never end, that I would never laugh again or feel good again (233)

How will I manage.? I felt I was about to collapse.! I decided that I’d…. go on vacation right now…. it’s just too hectic and crazy.” (85)

You can look at the dirty dishes and think: “This mess proves that I’m inadequate. I’m nothing but a maid. No one appreciates me enough to help me.” (166)

When you have umpteen loads of laundry to fold or a mountain of dishes to clean, yet the right attitude will keep you grateful and happy instead of bitter and resentful. (19)

I can’t stand mess. The sight of it drives me crazy.” (167)

I had no strength to clean the dishes one night. I needed to sleep so badly. But I stayed up and did them for fear my husband would think I was lazy. (187)

“….But I was overwhelmed…It makes me depressed not to get the housework done.” (85)

I dread the prospect of not being able to keep the house clean.”

We all come to motherhood with different aptitudes for the various skills involved in good mothering and homemaking. When you see an area in need of improvement, do not become discouraged. Find out what you can do to change and then do it. Remember, you do not have to be perfect to be deserving of love and respect, for if that were the case, no one would be deserving, since no one is perfect! It is essential that you break the connection between incompetency in certain skills and the condemnation of total failure. Everyone has areas of deficiency. This in no way implies total worthlessness. (5)

She thinks that a good mother is one who has a clean house and clean children and no more. I’ll never live up to what she wants me to be. (21)

I did manage somehow to get meals on the table and to try to be a good mother despite what I was going through.  (240)

I have to accustom myself to the ambiguity of my struggle to be a good mother….(77)

“but I do have a heart. I want to do right by my children. I want to bring them up with kindness, justice and vision.  Then what a cruel twist of fate that I should treat them sometimes so roughly, crudely, and hit them so hard.” (63-64)

Almost identical story based on a visit of a relative who comes to a birthday party and criticizes children’s behavior, hurt, reassertion of ego.

Story of housemaid who criticizes Shapira’s house and children, her reaction, hurt, and reassertion of her ego.

Example 3: The Critical Relative


A critical relative happened to be visiting. She had brought some things for the kids and they started fighting over them. She said, “Boy, he sure is a crybaby,” about one of the kids. As things got worse, she said, “They are certainly quite undisciplined, aren’t they!” (267)

Rachel, I have never in my life seen a child yell at her mother.

That’s when I began to get into temper.

I felt a little dizzy….How dare she say this in front of the children!

I had the insecure thought that she was right, that my children are exceptionally undisciplined and that I am an exceptionally poor mother.

I was condemning her for condemning me and condemning myself and my children

She’s either wrong or this is the truth, the truth is always for the best.  Because she’s right. My children have not been sufficiently education to be respectful towards their parents and towards each other. I am unaware.I am too permissive. They don’t have in me a good role model. The young woman’s only sin is that she said the truth (344)

I was very tense and wanted to tell her to take her things and just leave, to leave the house myself or to scream at the kids. I felt attacked, insulted and hurt as well as hostile, vengeful and cold.

I don’t want Sonia in my house anymore (352)

You did hurt me. (344)

She has no idea how much I went through…because of her…how much I’ve learned because of her colossal insensitivity and arrogance. (348)

It’s my fault. I can’t let them get away with this anymore. But it’s too late to change things. They’re showing everyone that they don’t come from a good home. They need to be smacked! They don’t deserve my patience, they’re going to be punished. (345)

Then I did the thing which I have always feared to do most, which was to tell this relative that her critical comments hurt my feelings, even though they were directed at the children. I told her that my children are really quite normal and that many other children pounce with unrestrained passion on gifts.

“You did hurt me.”

Then my eyes brimmed with tears.

Maybe my children are all right. Maybe they’re just normal. (350)

… I would have been so mortified that I would have either just sat there in a stupid stupor or gotten violent with the children just to please her and show her that I do know how to be the boss. The event would have been a disaster. (267)

…a metamorphosis took place. Poor, boneless mother turned into a … a … lion, a hurricane, a pestilence.  …..They are showing everyone that they don’t come from a good home. They need to be smacked! They don’t deserve my patience, they’re going to be punished.” (345)

Some of us are trying to be perfect. We see any imperfections on our part as signs of failure, and a proof of our worthlessness. Frequently we are as critical of ourselves as we are of our children, showing no more tolerance toward our own short­comings than toward theirs. Our habit of self-criticism may be so ingrained that we are, literally, at it all day, subjecting ourselves to a continuous harangue of accusation and abuse, ending up feeling spent and miserable. “Why am I always yelling at my children?” (17)

mv children must be failures.” With such a thought in mind, the mother would then feel discouraged and unloving and the home atmosphere would become tense and joyless.


I can’t shake the idea that my children are bad…I’m so mad at them, these emblems of my failure.

Never in my life have I seen such a horrible mess! (3)

never never in my life (347)

At some time, almost every mother will experience the pain of having a child say, “I hate you,” or make some other angry, disrespectful remark (153)

Dina burst out “I want to kill you.” (175)

In addition to empathy and understanding, children want to have their ideas and opinions respected

you want forgiveness and empathy ( 98)

Empathize rather than deny (158)

Being only human, parents will occasionally err in their judgment (107)

You are human. You make mistakes …46

I’m human. I will make mistakes. 38

Before having children, a woman focuses on achievements in school… (19)

No one praises a mother for changing diapers, cleaning floors, putting the laundry away or getting up twenty times a night with a sick child. There is no paycheck or public acknowledgment. (20)

Children…would legitimize your existence…as much as any Ph.D. But no one’s handing out any graduation papers (42)

The mitzvah of reverence requires the child to see his parents as a “king and queen” (35)

I felt special, like a queen. (19)

No longer would I relinquish my rightful place as queen

children often do not have the tools to deal with the impulses which overwhelm them when they are tired, hungry, (138)

…the children arrive home from school tired, hungry and demanding.  (49)

What initially triggers our anger is our assessment of how intolerable the situation is. (3)

anger is the intolerance toward the behavior of others. (50)

anger is one of the most ineffective ways to deal with children’s misbehavior.(6)

“A hot-tempered person cannot teach” (Avoth 2:6)  page 138

You can’t be a good educator when you are upset (50)

building up tolerance for the many frustrations they are bound to experience throughout life (59)

you will have to show great tolerance and faith as they go through some difficult phase (75)

we can strive to develop greater tolerance for all the pains of life (51)

To understand yourself, you must understand what is going on in your mind…. the negative meanings you attach to events so that you will understand your reactions. (168)

Be understanding of yourself and of your children….Freeing oneself from the self-condemnation is what makes working on oneself possible. (51)

They may even blame themselves: “Where have we gone wrong that he needs to steal?” (221)

Some parents automatically blame themselves whenever anything unpleasant happens (63)

The tendency may be to blame yourself and think that you have been such a terrible mother that you have caused all the child’s prob­lems. (255)

I blame myself for my children’s negative behavior. (59)

While his behavior may be poor, we should not judge him poorly because of it. We must learn to distinguish between the deed and the doer (13)

They are not bad, but they do have some bad habits  (138)

Taking care to judge deeds rather than the person (59)

Do not assume that she is purposely doing what you dislike (207)

He’s trying to get me mad on purpose. (61)

Sibling Rivalry: As Old as Cain and Abel (91)

Sibling rivalry….Look at Cain and Abel (70)

accepts the fighting as… normal aspect of sibling relations (4)

let them solve their own fights. They are within the normal range of childish behavior. (156)

The fighting they see in their children is within the normal range (71)

When we depend on the approval of others (63)

the desire for… approval (163)

the desire for approval (73)

When we depend on the approval of others, we only undermine our­selves; there will always be someone who disapproves or disagrees with what we are doing. (63)

Her disapproval and criticism hurt. 182

We would be having an easier time dealing with disapproval( 74)

“Don’t worry, I can manage. (105)

If others can manage with the same difficulties, so can you! (185)

How will I manage? (93)

The parents’ anger is often intensified because they view their children’s disorder as evidence of their own failure (140)

The worst thing you can do is judge yourself or others as failures, for then you are too full of anger or shame to respond constructively. (149)

“If my children misbehave, it means that they are failures.”

“If my children misbehave, it means that I am a failure.” (164)

Daniel had personified for me our failure as parents. (117)

A gregarious woman who is isolated in her home, doing routine, boring chores all day, with no meaningful goals or outlets for her creative talents, emotional needs, or intellectual yearnings, is bound to feel “down.” (230)

Being a mother…can be boring and depressing, a repetitive experience of disappointment in myself and my kids. (99)

A mother may feel terribly guilty (217)

women … tend to fear the use of power and feel guilty after­wards (43)

…if I do something bad, my way of feeling better about myself is to feel guilty (100)

My kids never listen to me. ”….Counter- thought: “I’m being excessively dramatic and over-emotionalizing.” (171)

“I can’t handle these children”….Counter-thought: All children disobey their parents (106)

that if one has a low self-image, one learns to expect less of oneself and is bound to behave in a manner that meets these low expectations. (26)


If the child thinks of himself as bad, he has no choice but to live up to that label and act bad (143)

self-image is the root of a child’s behavior…as he sees himself, so will he behave (118)

“You’re not allowed to talk to Daddy (Mommy) this way ” (39)

When a child speaks angrily to you, tell him, “You’re not allowed to speak disrespectfully to me.” (211)

“We are not allowed to speak like that to Mommy.”   (122)