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 newest novel (her eleventh!), An Unorthodox Match, will be published on September 24, 2019.

The Hebrew version (צמאה לך נפשי) is already available.
Click the covers to learn more.



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.

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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.

Categories

We Must Not Let Them Succeed

Every year when Passover eve arrives, I do my best not to think about that night; to allow the joy of cherished rituals meant to renew our family’s tribal history and faith envelop us in its warm glow as whoever among the kids and grandkids it’s our turn to host partake of the matzoh, bitter herbs, and wine. Often – actually most often – I succeed.

It was almost twenty years ago when I and my husband, sons, new daughter-in-law and in-laws watched our Seder night explode, our lives threatened, our fellow Jews maimed and murdered by a Palestinian Muslim suicide bomber. Only moments before, I remember sitting in the lobby of the Park Hotel in Netanya as grandparents joyously greeted the arrival of their children and grandchildren; and then at a table set with all the ritual objects – the Seder plate, the salt water, the wine bottles. I would spend many years wondering who among those strangers in the lobby lived, and who were among the thirty who died. I wondered too who among the rest of the survivors would ever again be able to celebrate the Passover Seder with joy?

There is a particular obscenity in terror acts that target religious holidays that are a family tradition, a tribal expression of faith and continuity. The beyond-horror of the coordinated Easter Sunday attacks by Muslim suicide bombers in Sri Lanka was not only an act of criminal inhumanity, it was an unholy sacrilege that can never be comprehended or condoned by any person professing a belief in a higher power. And yet, the Muslim world is largely silent, as usual, when these atrocities are committed in the name of their religion. There were no Muslims donning crosses, as New Zealanders adopted hijabs in solidarity with Muslim victims of terror; no mass outcry by imams, or the heads of Islamic states. Even more shockingly, there was a polite, almost restrained outcry from the Western world as well, as if people were more terrified of being condemned themselves for any expression of disgust with Islam over this atrocity against Christians, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton carefully couching their condolences to “Easter worshippers.”

The work to disarm and restrain what should be by now a screaming, bottomless, world-wide fury at decades of religion-based atrocities by Muslim fundamentalists by labeling all such opposition as Islamophobic has been irrationally successful, making it almost impossible to wage an all-out war on the Islam of brutal murderers and rapists, domestic abusers and pedophiles, enslavers and brutalizers of women: the Islam of global intolerance and sacrilegious disrespect of others.

Twenty years ago, we Jews were alone when Islamic terrorists blew up our Seders, our bar mitzvah boys, our brides at the wedding canopy. We weren’t surprised that no one cared. We had experience. And so we took our aloneness and built from it a vigilant backlash, barriers (that the world decried) to keep our people safe, to bar the murderers’ entry.

All the while our friends in France, Germany, England, and the rest of Europe, as well as a good many Americans, were convincing themselves that Islamic terror wasn’t based on the hatred of the “kufir” but simply justified reactions to the “crimes” committed against Palestinians. It couldn’t happen to Europeans or Americans because they loved and supported the Palestinians, lavishing them with billions in euros and dollars to pay for their terror networks; utilizing every world forum to defend them and excoriate their “abusers”- the vile Israeli Jews. This was a political issue, not a religious one, they insisted. A land-based, wealth-motivated outcry from the “oppressed.”

I can’t really blame them. I remember sitting down to Shabbat dinner with good Jews in Gibraltar at the time of the Oslo Accords, and how our very intelligent, kind Jewish host passionately defended the idea that Islamic terror would disappear once Palestinians had good jobs and nice homes. People in the West, who for the most part have themselves long ago lost any religious feeling, simply cannot comprehend what Islamic terror is all about. The fact that people hate you and want you and your kids – even the very little ones, the ones in diapers and tiny baby shoes – dead simply because you refuse to accept that Allah is the one true god and that Mohammed is his prophet.

Because of that willful incomprehension, it has been so slow to dawn on Western minds – if it ever will no matter what is done to them in the name of Islam – that they have hog-tied themselves, making it impossible for them to take the simple steps necessary that would protect their loved ones, their culture, their entire civilization from destruction.

  1. Round up anyone suspected of Islamic fundamentalist leanings: the preachers, the online followers, the Islamic teachers of terror and their students. Put them away until they can be reeducated, the way Nazis were de-Nazified and Nazism disappeared from the world except for easily recognizable pockets of extremists that are under watch and thus easily contained.
  2. Shut down all social-media companies that are hosting jihadi content. Period.
  3. Refuse to trade with countries that tolerate Islamic extremism. Shut down their tourism. Shut down their bank accounts. Make those in violation of this boycott liable to severe monetary and criminal penalties.
  4. Make the murder of any citizen of any country for religious reasons an act of war, with all that entails, making those that condone it and celebrate it, war criminals.
  5. Deport back to Islamic homelands anyone caught participating, rejoicing, celebrating, or condoning Islamic terror attacks anywhere in the world. Destroy their homes, bulldoze their businesses, houses of worship, and educational institutions.

Of course, the chances that any of these things will happen in my lifetime is almost nil. The continued acquiescence of the Western world to these atrocities, these blasphemies, in the name of some kind of false overtures to co-existence and peace, is as assured as it is wrong-headed and destructive. And so one despairs of anything that can save the world more atrocities of this kind except the direct intervention of the real God, not the black-hearted invention that jihadis claim to serve and worship.

We were the lucky ones. Almost twenty years ago, spurred on by an inexplicable sense of urgency, I herded my family upstairs to the separate dining hall that was reserved for us and the hotel owner’s family since both of us wanted to conduct our own seder instead of partaking in the communal one downstairs. Even my in-laws, who were still in the downstairs bathrooms, managed to miraculously avoid the consequences of the explosion.

Nevertheless, despite having been physically unharmed, experiencing such a thing not only changes you forever, but changes the world you live in, the religion you practice, the holidays you observe, casting a shadow of sorrow over every act of worship. For jihadis, killing us and our children is just the icing on the cake. Their real goal is to destroy our faith, our rituals, and our own way of serving God. We must not let them succeed.

14 comments to We Must Not Let Them Succeed

  • […] Reprinted with author’s permission from Naomi Ragen […]

  • SHIMSHON BITNUN

    AS YOU ALWAYS DO NAOMI,YOU HAVE WRITTEN A CONCISE,BRILLIANT AND COURAGEOUS ARTICLE AND THE POSITIVE RESPONSES ARE FULLY JUSTIFIED.THERE IS HOWEVER NO MENTION MADE OF THE TYPICAL LEFTIST APPROACH TO THIS VIOLENT RELIGION-THEY DO NOT HAVE THE GUTS TO SPEAK UP,AS NORMAL HUMAN BEINGS OF ANY FAITH,TO CONDEMN THIS MADNESS,THIS HATEFUL PARANOIA WHICH TYPIFIES THESE ACTS OF RANDOM TERROR.AND REGRETFULLY SEEMINGLY TYPIFIES THEIR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS

  • I am a Baptist Pastor from Oklahoma. Just returned from taking 31 people on a trip to Israel. I agree totally with your article. However, the solutions you mentioned will never happen because we do not have leaders with the nerve to carry them out. Keep on writing!!!!!

  • Judy

    Amen veAmen. As always, on point. Mo’adim LeSimha to you and your family

  • Sheldon Padawer

    There comes a time when a decision must be made. In this case the time has passed without action.

    So Naomi – have you got any ideas? My first idea would be to post guards at all Mosques 24/7. All who wish to enter must first be subjected to an educational film titled: Your faith’s greatest enemy is those who hide among you and preach hate for others in the name of God.

    I am a peace lover, but I would take the little ISIS “huddle ” and individually torture all to death with a cage full of scorpions.

  • John Norvill

    I have posted this to my Facebook page. I am from New Zealand and yes, our government has sold its soul to the Muslim community as well as many so-called Christian leaders. As a Christian, the message of Scripture is clear: salvation from sin is found in the God of the Old Testament and His Anointed One, Jesus Christ. Allah is false as are his followers who display his attributes.
    A well-written article with clear solutions. Thank you.

  • Jaffa Bilger

    So well said. I agree with you 1000%!

  • Just let me say “Amen!” Your article brought tears to my eyes. Everything is so true and lucid . You should be sitting in the Knesset. Kindest regards Dvora (Waysman)

  • Marsha Warnick

    Are you planning on visiting the US soon for a speaking tour. And what cities are you planning on including.

    I’m in Chicago and a member of HADASSAH. If we know ahead of time maybe will be able to plan.

    Hope that you and your family are having a wonderful Pesach.

    • Naomi Ragen

      Marsha, I will be in America from October 23 to November 13. I have already set up numerous lectures but have a few spots still available. Please write me if you want to set something up. (nragen@icloud.com)

  • Natalie Freedman

    This is brilliant and so very true. And some families are being harmed by the dissension of the oh so kind democratic idiots who admire Linda Sansour. They don’t realize that it is not ‘live and let live’ but’believe as we do or die’. You expressed the message so well. How can we get others to hear it? Thank you, Naomi Ragen.

  • Tsivya Frieder

    I think you left out one thing–we are afraid to post your article on Face Book for fear of being banned. A friend of mine posted something similar to this and was banned for 30 days.

  • Ruthie Zaionz

    Kol ha Kavod to Ms. Ragen and her article now. So eloquently expressed, not to mention truthful. The world seems to be embracing “Islamophobia” with total blindness and naivete. No one rejoices when mosques are attacked, but when the Notre Dame in Paris burned, there was rejoicing by some Muslims, right in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral, as it was burning. What word could be created now in English that could be used by the western world to manipulate world thinking in the same way “Islamophobia” has achieved?

  • dianne varon

    Thank you for this. This is really heartbreaking and outrageous. My neighbors (both professors) are from Sri Lanka and we have been unable to reach them since this horror happened. Our fear is that their families may have been killed. Shameful!!!!!!! Not the outcry that the mosque in New Zealand got and that makes it even worse. I worry about what is happening in our government here in the states. We now have rude outspoken muslims in our government and there are many schools that are now controlled by Cair. Washington state, Minnesota and until this year San Diego country in Calif. I sent your letter on to people on my list. Sadly, too many of my family and friends (we are all Jewish) simply do not understand or believe what is happening. They are educated but are die hard democrats. One is a professor and proudly acknowledges that he is a socialist and we need to allow all of these people into our country and politics.