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.

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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 Walk in the Shuk

It’s been a while since I’ve wandered through the Machane Yehuda shuk in downtown Jerusalem. The fast pace of our lives makes it difficult to find time to shop in a place with no underground parking and shopping carts. But today I happened to be in the neighborhood so I wandered in.

Well, wandered isn’t exactly the right word. Since the Intifada, when the shuk was a prime target of terrorists who attacked innocent shoppers and stall owners again and again, security has been tightened, and little wandering permitted.

Soldiers with Uzi machine guns guard the entrance.

Bomb-sniffing dogs patrol the bus stops.

But once inside, we Israelis tend to forget about all that.

What greets you in the shuk is the smell of fresh baked pita bread sprinkled with zatar. Fresh cheese Danishes hot from the oven. I wander through the aisles no longer worried about an attack, the payoff for all the security, and concentrate on the vegetables and fruits, the spices, the cheeses, the fish. I stop by the venders selling organic strawberries, a new product in Israel, and marvel. Here in the dead of winter, on a cold rainy January, are stalls overflowing with large, ripe, luscious strawberries that are sold not by the stingy little box, but by the pound. I marvel at the genius of my people who have figured out a way to grow strawberries without pesticide so successfully that even the poorest person in Israel can afford to buy strawberries by the pound, shoveled into large plastic bags, over two pounds of organic strawberries in winter costing ten shekel (two dollars? Less?)

I remembered that little fruit store I went to in Paris, with its snooty owner who wouldn’t let you choose your fruits, measuring them out like diamonds, and how they cost almost as much. And the pale expensive produce in Boston.

And I thought about the show I saw today about some obese British children, and how their diets were so lacking in fruits and vegetables.

And then I looked at the startling green lettuce, the wonderful tomatoes, still attached to the vine, dozens of them that cost me pennies, grown by nearby Jewish farmers in the soil of our country that once was a desert land.

I stopped by the fish store, and there was fresh Denise and salmon and carp and bass, all available in abundance. An oriental worker picked out three large fish and paid for them, and I thought of the feast he and his hardworking friends would have that night. It took me a while to get the attention of the fish man. He was in his mid-thirties, not a very handsome fellow, and he stood there mesmerized by two very, very pretty blond girls who had chosen to stand in front of his stall to have a cell phone conversation.

“Yoo hoo?” I finally said, waving to get his attention. “I know I’m not as pretty as they are, but I, after all, want to buy fish and they don’t.”

He smiled at me. “I want to get married,” he shrugged, his face suddenly going serious. “Maybe you have someone at home for me?”

I took that as a compliment, but had to confess all my daughters were married. He took it philosophically, shifting his gaze longingly back to the blondes, but not before he cut me four wonderful slices of fresh salmon.

My husband and I had two slices for dinner tonight, with warm pita bread and those lovely tomatoes, and fresh green lettuce, and couscous. I cut open a fragrant lemon and squeezed out the juice over it all. And for desert I had the freshest, sweetest strawberries in the world.

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