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.

Naomi's 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.

October 2016 - The Devil in Jerusalem is published in paperback.
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.


The Year That Was; The Year to Come

With the beginning of a New Year, I thought I would bring you up to date on some of the lives I brought to your attention through these columns. Every one of them became part of my life, and, hopefully, part of yours.

What happened to Jere Finer and her sister-in–law, left penniless “agunot”  by wealthy, abusive husbands, excommunicated by rabbincal courts in Monsey and Baltimore for filing in civil courts? Both have entered happier times in their lives. Both have received their “get.” In both cases, it was not help from the rabbinic establishment which bore results, but publicity and their own dogged efforts. In one case, the husband wanted to remarry, and so was anxious to settle things.

For Jere, after a year of being forced to live off charity (Rabbi Brull of Ahavas Yisroel of Baltimore was very helpful) without funds to feed her children, or heat her home, her courage, determination and cleverness paid off. She had her husband arrested for not paying child support. Once at the mercy of the American prison and court systems, rather than our indulgent Jewish courts (indulgent to men that is), her vindictive ex couldn’t give her a get and financial settlement fast enough. For both Jere and her sister-in-law, a brighter New Year is looming ahead. It is to be hoped the unconscionable, rabbinically –sanctioned suffering of these women will resonate in the Jewish community, helping to prevent other such horrorible injustices.

And what of our “little lost girl,” the teenager whose parents wanted to force her into an ultra-Orthodox school, denying her food and clothing as punishment for her desire to learn towards matriculation and a brighter future? For the past year she has been living in a group home run by a wonderful haredi Rabbi who makes his life’s work sheltering the abused children of the religious world. We see each other often and the change in her is remarkable. The shifting eyes, the nervous energy, the fear is all gone. Her face beams with excitement as she tells me about her new school, her guitar lessons and how she’s learning English. Such good people, she tells me of the Rav and the counselors who are there for her. For her too, the New Year bursts with new opportunities, and all the years ahead with hopefulness.

And what of the Rebbitzen “Ruth” I wrote of in my column “The Shunning?” Mother of twelve, living in a basement in Meah Shearim, forbidden to see her children, kept out by court order from three daughters’ weddings, all because she left an adulterous husband who has powerful rabbinic connections? The publicity in the Jerusalem Post brought heartwarming concern. People sent donations. Mrs. Valerie Adler collected funds, while her wonderful son, advocate Shmuel Casper, took on the Rebbitzen’s battles with Jerusalem’s Rabbinic Court, generously donating his time and famous legal expertise to help reunite her with her children. Six months ago, dayanim issued a judgement that she was to see her children, only to give into threats and and remove themselves from the case the next day. Her lawyer filed a police complaint, but the police closed the case, citing “lack of public interest” (!).

Right now, Rav Dahan, administrator of the Rabbinnic Courts, has sent her a letter that new judges will be appointed. It only took six months. An eternity to a mother who hasn’t seen her children in three years…

“Ruth” has powerful enemies. Her husband’s uncle is a prominent Rosh Yeshiva and member of the Council of Torah Sages. Despite his knowing the truth, he has done nothing to help her. On the contrary. Just as he threatened, he has done everything in his power to punish her for the “embarrassment” of her leaving the abusive marriage. “Ruth” has written to Rav Lau, asking for his intervention. She is optimistic that there are still some truly righteous and fearless rabbis left who will finally give her justice.

And you can be sure, dear readers, that I will let you know what happens to this innocent, tragically-mistreated woman and her small children. And who is responsible.

I am encouraged by those good things that happened to the people I wrote about. My heart has been warmed by so many kind, encouraging messages of support from readers who love G-d, the Jewish religion, and the State and people of Israel; people who understand that criticism comes from a desire to improve the way our society treats the individual; and our political and judicial system dispenses its duties to the public.

And for those mistakes I’ve made, those feelings I’ve unfairly hurt, I truly ask “mechilah,” forgiveness.

As for those who have responded to a truthful discussion of society’s ills with hate mail, I grant you all my “mechillah.” I haven’t given up on you (well, maybe on just a few of you…) I sincerely hope that this year you will finally open your hearts and minds, your eyes and hands to correct injustice and alleviate the suffering around you.

A good and blessed New Year to you all.

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