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.


Iran – Talking Cure for a Psychopath

Ayatollah Khomeini put it this way: “Whatever good exists is because of the sword and the shadow of the sword.”

Can we talk Iran out of wanting to kill every man, woman and child in Israel? That seems to be the question these days.

If Iran were a mental patient, in our psychiatric notes we would have to record the following:

On August 28, 2001, at a rally for Quds (Arabic for Jerusalem) Day, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a Tehran crowd that “the Zionist regime is the axis of unity among all the thieves and criminals of the world.” In 2005, he said, quoting the Imam Khamenei, Israel should be “wiped off the map.”

While the world was busy nit-picking the translation of those words, particularly Israel’s “good friend” Jonathan Steele of The Guardian, arguing Iran’s leader was just referring to a regime change of the evil expansionist Zionists now in power in Jerusalem, not physical annihilation of a sovereign state, Joshua Teitelbaum pointed out in his important rebuttal of these foolish semantics that Michael Axworthy, Britain’s consular officer in Tehran, testified that slogans draped over missiles in Iran’s military parades stated: “Israel must be wiped off the map.” Ahmadinejad’s own speech was peppered with “Marg bar Esrail” (Death to Israel).

On February 20, 2008, Ahmadinejad called Israel “a black and filthy microbe,” and in 2011 he likened Israel to “a cancer cell that spreads through the body,” stating that “this regime infects any region [and must therefore] be removed.”

As a psychiatrist, we would have to ask the patient: Why, when you have no border with Israel and your citizens are not affected in any way on a daily basis by anything that Israel does, are you filled with enough hatred to want to kill millions of men, women and children, most of whom are the treasured survivors of a nation decimated by mindless atrocities and slaughter only 60 years ago?

The most honest answer would require courage, honesty and some real insight, all three of which are in short supply in the present Iranian regime. However, Robert R. Reilly probably comes closest to the truth in his book The Closing of the Muslim Mind: “The fuel for the permanent war is the same for Islamism as it was for Marxism-Leninism and Nazism; it is hatred. Only the object of hatred changes – from race hatred in Nazism and class hatred in communism to hatred of the infidel in radical Islamism.”

As stated in the Koran (60:4) itself (and quoted by Osama bin Laden): “Battle, animosity and hatred – directed from the Muslim to the infidel – is the foundation of our religion.” Or, as Abdullah Azzam, bin Laden’s mentor, put it: “Glory does not build its lofty edifice except with skulls. Honor and respect cannot be established except on a foundation of cripples and corpses. Jihad and the rifle alone, no negotiations, no conferences and no dialogue.” Ayatollah Khomeini, the former supreme spiritual leader of the Iranian regime, put it this way: “Whatever good exists is because of the sword and the shadow of the sword.”

With the Internet, this “virtual community of hatred,” a phrase coined by Professor Jerrold M. Post, professor of psychiatry, political psychology and international affairs at George Washington University, is now almost exclusively and most murderously directed at the Jews, particularly the Jewish state. This has reached ludicrous proportions.

According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, in 2009, Iranian TV declared swine flu to be an Israeli conspiracy. In June 2008, an Iranian movie critic, Dr. Majid Shah-Hosseini, traced the origins of the film Saving Private Ryan to exalting the American- Jewish soldier: “Names may be selected for their rhyming value. Zion becomes Ryan.” Hasan Bolkhari, adviser to the Iranian Ministry of Education, wrote in 2006 that the cartoon Tom and Jerry was “a Jewish conspiracy to improve the image of mice because Jews were called dirty mice in Europe.”

Lest anyone point the finger at the Arab-Israeli conflict as the culprit for this mindless hatred, it should be pointed out that one of the first religious laws enacted in Iran in the late 19th century forbids Jews from going outdoors in inclement weather “for fear that the rain or snow carry their impurities to the Muslims” (The Jews of Islam by Bernard Lewis).

Still, the belief in the “talking cure” for Iran continues to be supported throughout the world.

Peter Beaumont, writing in The Observer on March 11, maintains that a rational dialogue with Iran is both possible and necessary. “Israel’s security concerns and its ever-louder threats to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities… far from illuminating what actually motivates Iran in its nuclear ambitions… has tended to obscure Tehran’s motives instead.”

Right. It’s Israelis who are irrational.

But the irrational views of one mediocre journalist would be of little import were they not echoed by Israel’s so-called “best friends.”

Barack Obama told the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference on March 4, “I firmly believe that an opportunity remains for diplomacy, backed by pressure, to succeed.” On March 7, the president of the United States stated even more clearly: “Diplomacy can still resolve the crisis over Iran’s possible pursuit of nuclear weapons,” accusing his Republican critics of “beating the drums of war.”

Echoing the president, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared in a joint press conference with Libyan Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib on March 9 that Washington wants “to begin discussions with Iran.” British Prime Minister David Cameron said, “We’ve been very clear: If there was an Israeli strike, we wouldn’t support them.”

Charles Krauthammer, a long-time friend of Israel, summed up the dangers of such a view in an article published on March 13: “These negotiations don’t just gain time for a nuclear program [over] whose military intent the IAEA is issuing alarming warnings. They make it extremely difficult for Israel to do anything about it (while it still can) lest Israel be universally condemned for having aborted a diplomatic solution.”

Israel’s enemies, it seems, have all the time in the world to dither. After all, what’s the worst thing that could happen? As an Israeli, I can only feel chilled to the core that the idea of the Jewish state and all its inhabitants being wiped out doesn’t seem to terrify the West nearly as much as a preemptive Israeli strike to prevent it. Israel, it seems, is facing the madman alone.

If you Google “Is Iran Sane?” what you get is a stream of articles on the death of Sane Jaleh, who died instantly when he was shot by suspected Basij, the paramilitary wing of the Terrorist IR Regime during a demonstration in Tehran. According to Wikipedia, Sane, a Kurdish Iranian, was a film student at the Tehran Art University and a member of the national student union (Tahkime Vahdat).

“Eyewitness accounts suggest that between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. of the 14th of February Basij paramilitary thugs opened fire on demonstrators, shooting at them indiscriminately.” And thus, with his death, perhaps the only person who could legitimately be called sane in Iran (I refer to the leadership, and not some of the brave opponents of the regime) was buried.

For all of us who retain our sanity and our love for humanity and for Israel, it should be clear that dangerous mental cases like the Iranian regime should not be free to lie on the couch while their nuclear program churns out deadly weapons for them to fulfill their darkest and most insane fantasies.

This article was first published in the Jerusalem Post on 23 March, 2012.

6 comments to Iran – Talking Cure for a Psychopath

  • David Herz

    Apparently the quoted passage from the Koran is a gloss given to that verse attributed to Osama bin Laden.

    “Bin Laden castigated them, saying: “As to the relationship between Muslims and infidels, this is summarised by the Most High’s Word: ‘We renounce you. Enmity and hate shall forever reign between us – till you believe in Allah alone’ [Quran 60:4]. So there is an enmity, evidenced by fierce hostility from the heart. And this fierce hostility – that is battle – ceases only if the infidel submits to the authority of Islam, or if his blood is forbidden from being shed [a dhimmi – a non-Muslim subject living as a “second-class” citizen in an Islamic state in accordance to Quran 9:29], or if Muslims are at that point in time weak and incapable [a circumstance under which taqiyya applies]. But if the hate at any time extinguishes from the heart, this is great apostasy! Such, then, is the basis and foundation of the relationship between the infidel and the Muslim. Battle, animosity and hatred, directed from the Muslim to the infidel, is the foundation of our religion. And we consider this a justice and kindness to them.””


    “Islam’s doctrines of deception”
    by Raymond Ibrahim
    Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst
    October 2008

    • Rabbi Fleishig

      That’s got to be the most sick warped thing I’ve ever heard – that the justice and kindness of Islam toward us infidels expresses itself in battle, animosity and hatred. Well, at least they’re being honest. The Roman Catholic Church always claimed that the Inquisition, pogroms and the mass extermination of the native peoples of Spanish America and the Philippines were expressions of Christian love.
      I once knew someone who was the son of missionaries, and he told me that the one lesson he had learned from the experience was that if you ever see someone coming toward you to do you good, shoot him.
      I think I’ll pass on Islam’s justice and Christianity’s kindness.

  • Samuel Burns

    To Ploni Almoni: A quick Google search on “Koran 60:4”
    turned up this quote(on more than one site): “We are clear of you and of whatever ye worship besides God: We have rejected you, and there has arisen, between us and you, enmity and hatred forever….” The explanation underneath states, “Sets out Islamic hatred and enmity to those that don’t believe in Allah.” Sounds quite
    threatening to me.

  • Can you provide a source for the translation of “Koran (60:4)”?
    You translate it as, “Battle, animosity and hatred – directed from the Muslim to the infidel – is the foundation of our religion.”

    I’ve searched a half-dozen translations, and none match that except for the first phrase (“battle, animosity and hatred”).

    I very much agree with your cause, but I think it undercuts your credibility when you misquote the Koran (if that’s what you’ve done).

  • Samuel Burns

    The Obama administration very recently increased military aid to Egypt; a country that is increasingly showing hostile intent towards Israel. Thus Israel shouldn’t trust Obama in the slightest when he says, “The United States has Israel’s back.” If Israel can’t trust Obama, how can it trust Iran?

  • Ray

    Does Israel own or can it borrow a bomber big enough to use electromagnetic pulse weapons to disable Iran’s launch capacity?