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. 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.


Naomi’s Posts

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Current time in Jerusalem

Rachel’s Story – The Rabbinic Court’s Pathetic Verdict

Friends,

I have more news about Rachel S. The Rabbinical Court of Jerusalem has handed down its final decision in her case.

Just a reminder, they were ruling on the suggestion of the social worker that she be allowed to send letters to her children. After ten years.

This is what the rabbis decided (emphasis added by me, NR):

[START OF COURT DECISION]

Rabbi Yissochor Dov Heiger
Rabbi Binyomin Levi
Rabbi Mordechai Toledano
9 October 2005

The Court has heard the decision of the social worker Ruth E. and the reaction of the father. We also have before us the previous suggestions of the social worker and we also agree there is no doubt that every effort should be made to re-establish the relationship between the mother and her children – even if only partially. This is primarily for the good of the children who are obligated to honor their mother, which the Torah equates with honoring their father.

This idea has been expressed by us previously.

It should be noted that previous decisions of the Higher Rabbinical Court not only expressed this view, but also decided concrete steps to enforce it, including sending both sides to educational advisors for therapy to rehabilitate the mother-child connection.

But along with this, the Court doesn’t see any way to enforce these decisions against the wishes of the children themselves and their steadfast refusal of any connection at all with their mother. This seems to be part of a well-established and stubborn coalition between all the children, the married ones and the younger ones.

THE MOTHER TOO IS RESPONSIBLE IN NO SMALL MEASURE FOR CREATING THIS ABNORMAL AND PROBLEMATIC SITUATION WITH HER “ROUGH” [I can't find a better translation for this word, but they mean me and my play no doubt and these e-mails, and making a public fuss over having her children stolen, NR)] AND UNFEELING BEHAVIOR TOWARDS HER CHILDREN, THEIR HONOR AND GOOD NAME, EVEN IF ONLY BECAUSE OF HER DESPAIR AND HELPLESSNESS. [Right, she's a publicity hound...]

In any case, after much consideration and and long and considered weighing of all factors, we don’t find that interfering with this situation with court orders and sanctions and penalties would be useful, and in fact it’s not even clear against whom these sanctions should be addressed. [!]

Therefore, we feel the Court has exhausted all its resources, and so we recommend the case be closed.

This is the majority opinion.

The minority opinion:

Before us is a case that the court decisions were not enforced, because enforcement was dependent on a number of factors: the father, the older children, the close and extended family, and the community and their rabbis.

After the Court realized that it couldn’t solve this problem, and brought forth the problem of the equal honoring of father and mother, we reached a dead end, because of the lack of cooperation – to put it mildly – of both sides, and the community, and but mainly because the father continues to cloak himself in Torah law and the instructions of his rabbis in hiding the children from their mother.

Today, after such an extended period of separation between mother and child with the support of the the extended family to prevent any connection between mother and children, the Court is convinced that the only chance of bringing the mother and children together would be through the auspices of the father’s rabbis, who have it in their power to effect a reconciliation within the family. The only option left is to invite them to the Court to clarify the situation, and to direct the woman to her husband’s rabbis. We may assume that if the mother will show her true readiness to take guidance and instruction from these Rabbis, on how to bring the hearts of mother and child together as one, this readiness of hers will create an opening for light to come through from the end of the tunnel, to bring father close to son, and the heart of children to their mother and their hearts together will be brought to the one God, as Rashi [a medieval Biblical commentator] states in his commentary on the Biblical verse “seventy souls”: all will be joined into one when they serve the same God.

Therefore, if the woman will within thirty days agree to turn to the great sage, Rav Auerbach, Shlita, allowing him to deal with this situation, or someone the rabbi assigns to deal with it, the Court with continue to deal with this case. If she refuses, the case will be closed, as agreed by the majority.”

[END OF COURT DECISION]

By the way, it was to the great sage Rav Auerbach whom Rachel turned ten years ago, before she started this case in court in the first place. She asked him a simple thing: “Before I agree to let you decide this case, please show me you have the power to do something by bringing me my ten year old daughter for five minutes, here, in your house.”

The Rav was not able to do this. This is when Rachel went to court in the first place.

I am outraged at this decision which reeks of the Taliban.

We will have another day in court as Israel’s Supreme Court reviews with decision come January. I would like the help and backing of every women’s organization to fight this evil and to make Israel, circa 2005, a country which truly honors and respects its women, and not some version of Saudi Arabia in rabbis’ clothing.

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