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.


The Rule of Law

Last week Rabbi Porush the son explained to us on Gabi Gazit’s morning show why the haredim have every right to rob the country’s treasury to support haredim who are too holy to work. What was clear from what he said is that the haredim, who have long disconnnected the arrival of money with actually earning it by working, clearly think that money is something that is given out, and therefore the haredim deserve their share.

Now Rav Porush the father tells us on Daniel Pe’er’s morning show that the laws in this country are not to his liking, and threatens that if we prevent haredim from doing exactly as they please, they’ll take to the streets and rebel.

In both cases, son and father present their case as if this is a secular-religious conflict. “You gave money to the kibbutzim!” Porush the younger cries. “The courts are overstepping their bounds” Porush the elder warns, and very helpfully his interviewer – the noted halachic expert Daniel Pe’er – points out “it’s a conflict between the law of the land and the halacha.”

Rav Porush himself, of course, wouldn’t have dared to say that. And for good reason. Because he knows, as does every child in a state religious school, that there is a very clear halachic principle which states: “The law of the land is the law.” Which means, that civil laws must be respected and obeyed –  that is the halacha. Religious Jews in the Diaspora were always very careful to keep the laws of the czar or the king. They prided themselves on being law-abiding, so that their actions shouldn’t be interpreted as a descecration of G-d’s name.

But why should it surprise any of us that the haredim are now threatening the rule of law? Since its inception a few hundred years ago, haredi society has had no respect for the halacha either. Every time they run into a Halacha that interferes with their lifestyle, they simply ignore it.

For example, the halacha, stated clearly in every ketubah, that a husband has to support his wife. Show me who’s supporting his wife in haredi society.

For example, the Halacha states that the Torah should not be made into “a shovel with which to dig.” Show me who isn’t using the Torah for monetary gain in haredi society.

What Israeli society has to understand, is that the conflict with the haredim is not a religious-secular conflict. The real conflict is simple: haredi society, having veered very far from the honesty and social justice inherent in the Torah’s laws, now finds itself collapsing financially and morally. As a result, it is becoming more and more radical in its demands from the general society that is shoring it up, whose support is the last pillar of its crumbling empire.

I say, if the haredim want a rebellion, let’s have one! Let’s all of us, secular and truly religious, halacha-abiding, rebel against the haredim and their vision of a society shaped and dictated by their ravenous personal needs and greed. Let’s uphold with all our might the rule of law – halachic and civil – which is our only protection against the horror of a society whose laws are dictated by the fanatic and the ignorant, the self-serving and the indolent.

I say, there is a place in every civilized society for those with no respect for the law, who encourage people to break it and who threaten judges and the courts when decisions are not to their liking. It’s called jail. Those who break the law, or threaten a rebellion against it, belong there, no matter what they’re wearing, and how holy they think themselves.

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