We Write the Books We Want to Read
In this speech Ms. Ragen addresses her process for selecting the topics for her books, the real life stories behind them, and why these stories chose her.
It’s Between Hope and a Hard Place, Israel at 60
Ms. Ragen addresses the political challenges Israel faces and how they can be overcome.
To Be a Writer, to be a Woman, to Be an Israeli
Ms. Ragen addresses her work, life and the things that are important to her with regard to gender and Zionist issues.
A Religious Woman’s Voice - Literature as Social Protest
Ms. Ragen talks about how the books she has written cover issues that try to bring light to aspects of the religious world, and the world at large, that need to be re-evaluated.
Author, playwright and journalist Naomi Ragen is one of the Jewish world’s most controversial and most read novelists and political commentators. An American born in New York, she lives and works in Jerusalem and is the author of ten international best sellers, and a hit play (Women's Minyan) which 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 newest novel, The Sisters Weiss, 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.
With The Ghost of Hannah Mendes, she turned to historical fiction, spending seven years researching a real-life heroine of the Inquisition and bringing the fascinating and little-studied world of the conversos and their descendants back to life as a model for Jewish continuity.
Speaking of Mid-East politics with a fresh voice of one who was eyewitness to the practical results of political agreements, she wrote a novel explaining the truth behind the headlines. In addition, while writing The Covenant, a thriller about the Hamas kidnapping and murder of an Israeli doctor inspired by true events, Ms. Ragen and her family experienced the horrors of terror first hand as guests at the Park Hotel during the Passover Massacre in Netanya in 2002.
Naomi Ragen is also the author of The Tenth Song, Chains Around the Grass and The Saturday Wife. She writes regularly in The Jerusalem Post and to her mailing list about Israel and Jewish issues, and has become a force to be reckoned with in the war against anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda.
Despite the fact that Ms. Ragen writes in English, Israelis voted her the third most popular author in Israel and her books have become a cultural bridge between Israelis and their Diaspora counterparts. In 2002, she was honored by the President of Israel for her outstanding contribution to Israeli arts and letters and served on the Knesset Committee on Arts and Culture. Her award-winning first play, Women's Minyan, commissioned by Israel's National Theatre, ran for six years in Israel, and is now being performed in various places around the world. An outspoken advocate of gender equality and human rights, she has recently been honored by a number of organizations for her accomplishments in this field.
Ms. Ragen is a sought-after speaker all over the world, speaking to enthusiastic audiences from South Africa to New Zealand to North America and Canada about her books, her passion for Israel’s well-being, and the feminist and human rights issues to which she has made a tireless commitment.
Born in New York City, she earned a B.A. Cum Laude in English from Brooklyn College, and an M.A. in English from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem under a full honors grant.