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Naomi Ragen

RAGEN, NAOMI (1949– ), author. Born in New York, Ragen earned a bachelor's degree in English from Brooklyn College and a master's in English from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In January 1971 she moved with her husband to Israel. The translation of her books into Hebrew made her one of Israel's best-loved writers. Blending history, Jewish religious themes and their relation to the modern-day world, she had six international bestsellers: Jephte's Daughter (1989); Sotah (1992), her first book translated into Hebrew; The Sacrifice of Tamar (1995); Chains Around the Grass (2001); The Ghost of Hannah Mendes (2002); and The Covenant. (2004) Her play, Women's Minyan, commissioned by Israel's National Theater, Habimah, premiered in Israel in 2000 and became one of Habimah's longest-running hits. Its American premiere in English took place in 2005 at Duke University's Reynolds Theatre. She is an outspoken advocate of gender equality and human rights. One of the most influential and widely read columnists on the Internet, with thousands of subscribers, Ragen served as Israel's delegate to the Council of Europe's International Conference on Women's Rights in September 2000. Caught along with her family in the Netanyah Passover massacre, she used the experience to write passionately about the dangers of terror organizations and their supporters, as well as the experience of innocent civilians who find themselves on the front lines. A frequent contributor to oped pages, she was also a columnist for The Jerusalem Post. The Israeli government honored her in 2002 for outstanding achievement in literature.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.