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.

Subscribe to Naomi's Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to Naomi's blog.

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 - is a chilling tale of the paths that so easily lead us astray, and the darkness within us all. “שטן
Click the book’s cover to learn more.

Watch Valérie Abécasis' interview with Naomi on French Channel 24's Culture program. The interview (in French) begins at the 4:00 minute mark.

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.

Nic Nie MówMay 2017 – The Polish translation of Devil in Jerusalem is published as Nic Nie Mów.

April 2017 – Naomi speaks about her books at the Ivan M. Stettenham Library at the Streicker Centre in New York City.

March 2017 – Naomi tours the Paris region to speak about her new book Les Soeurs Weiss, the French translation of The Sisters Weiss.

January 2017 – Naomi is interviewed by Valérie Abécasis on French Channel 24‘s Culture program. The interview (in French) begins at the 4:00 minute mark.

“LesDecember 2016Les Soeurs Weiss, the French translation of The Sisters Weiss, is published.

October 2016The 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 Sarah 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.


A Phyrric Victory

So, you think you’ve won, do you – all of you who organized and participated in that great show of yeshiva power this Sunday in Jerusalem? And, what then, exactly, is your victory?

If you think your show of numbers cowed our judges and our court system, we can only pray that isn’t the case. I use the term “pray” particularly, and not a more secular term, because Israeli’s civil court system, its High Court of Justice, is the last refugee for so many religious people fleeing the injustices of the Rabbinic Courts. I can’t tell you how many unfortunate women — some of them haredi, the former wives of rabbis — who have tried desperately to get their cases moved from the Rabbinic Courts to the civil courts so that they might have a chance of achieving some justice in property settlements and child custody issues, for it is well-known that Rabbinic Courts favor men.

If you think that you’ve achieved justification for your point of view because so many came out to support it, then think again. We who have lived through the twentieth century know better than to believe truth and right belong to large crowds. After all, millions of Germans were dead wrong about everything, weren’t they?

If you think your dancing and singing and prayer warmed our hearts, think again. When Moses came down from the mountain, he found the people dancing and singing also, didn’t he? He too was unimpressed. He broke the tablets of Law because the people, with their disgraceful enthusiasm for the wrong idea, didn’t deserve the beautiful laws G-d had prepared for them, laws meant to ennoble and enrich them, to set them above and apart from the lawless pagans.

And if you think you “sure showed those secular Jews” just who’s in charge, then think again. True, you bused in a quarter million, and the opposing side only had fifty thousand. But most of us realize that unlike your participants, those on the opposing side couldn’t really take time off to sing and dance in Jerusalem on a sunny afternoon. They were too busy tilling the fields so you’ll have food to eat. Too busy patrolling the borders, so you can sleep in your beds safely at night. Too busy earning a living to pay for your yeshivot, your share of city taxes, your subsidized housing, subsidized school buses, subsidized food stores …

All day long, I listened to one member after the next of the haredi community explain what the demonstration, or “prayer vigil” was all about. Again and again I heard the following: “We want the courts, the judges to respect us. We deserve respect.”

Just as haredim have long disconnected the act of receiving money from actually going out and earning it, so they have now disconnected receiving respect from actually going out and earning it. Showing no respect for the law, or for judges, or, by the way, for the Halacha which states clearly that a judge must not “respect” any one side more than another when reaching a fair and even handed judgement — they wish, nevertheless, to be respected for their point of view. Both money and respect, it seems, can be yours for the taking if you make enough noise.

So, congratulations, all those of you who organized and participated in what is being called the largest demonstration in Israeli’s history.

You’ve managed to achieve the most stupendous, most well-attended and mind-boggling desecration of G-d’s name in recent history.

If you can stop patting yourselves on the back long enough to look into the mirror, perhaps you’ll see what those of us who were watching you saw: a docile, manipulated crowd of sheep led by power-hungry, money-grubbing, wheeler-dealers in saints’ clothing who are leading you all straight off the cliff.

Comments are closed.