Naomi Ragen Drops Plagiarism Appeal, Claims Victory


Sarah Shapiro’s plagiarism suit against Naomi Ragen reached its denouement in the Israeli Supreme Court last week when Ms. Ragen withdrew her appeal of the judgment entered by the Jerusalem District Court in Shapiro’s favor. Withdrawal of the appeal left intact the District Court’s injunction barring Ragen from reprinting her novel Sotah in any language without removing material appropriated from Shapiro’s memoir Growing with My Children.

In return, Shapiro agreed to donate 97,000 shekels – her portion of the damages award against Ragen, after payment of attorney’s fees – to two charity organizations,Yad Eliezer and Yad Sarah.

As is her wont, Ragen claimed vindication by the three-judge panel, despite the fact that she remained without the 233,000 shekels awarded by the District Court to Shapiro and her attorneys, and is still subject to an injunction against reprinting Sotah. If that constitutes victory in Ragen’s view, one wonders what would be defeat.

In any event, Ms. Ragen will be back in court soon defending against another plagiarism action, this one brought by Mrs. Sudy Rosengarten. Rosengarten claims that Ragen interpolated her short story “A Match Made in Heaven” (which was published in the anthology Our Lives I edited by Shapiro) as chapter 24 of her novel The Rape of Tamar. Rather than comment on an action sub judice, we will leave it to readers to compare.

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shaul shapira
2 years 5 days ago

I just checked wikipedia which ‘confirms’ Ragen’s victory.

“On 6 November 2013, the Supreme Court vindicated Ragen by overturning the District Court’s decision in the Shapiro case,[13] and ordered Shapiro to return the money she had received (except for the money paid to her lawyer), which Ragen agreed would be donated to charity. Ragen also agreed to remove some 25 words and phrases from future editions of Sotah.[14]”

Any wiki editors out there who care to get involved?

P.S. The hebrew version of her wiki page is much less sure of itself:

בהמשך נפסק שרגן תשלם לשפירו פיצויים והוצאות משפט בסכום כולל של… Read more »

lawrence kaplan
2 years 6 days ago

S. I cannot agree with you. It was Naomi Ragen who claimed that the plagiarism charges against her were launched by Haredim on account of her criticisms of Haredi society in her novels. So it was she who first linked the plagiarism issue with her attitude to Haredim.

2 years 16 days ago

>So she is betraying “her” community in her novels for no tachlis.

No tachlis? She believes what she writes, period. You agree with one genre of her writing but not the other, but they are opinions from the same person.

As for the plagiarism itself, not only do I believe it was blatant, but I found her arrogance in denying it appalling. I think, however, to tie it in with her attitude toward Chareidim is a mistake. One thing has nothing to do with the other, and one would hope that if the shoe were on the other foot, Cross Currents… Read more »

Toby Katz
2 years 18 days ago

Thank you for including the information about Sudy Rosengarten.

I know people who believe that Naomi Ragen was falsely accused of plagiarism just because charedim don’t like her. Nothing will convince them that Ragen is a plagiarist — except a side-by-side chapter of Ragen’s plagiarized chapter with the chapter in Sarah Shapiro’s book *Growing with My Children* that Ragen stole. Is there anywhere on-line we can see this? Or can you at least tell us which chapter in Shapiro’s book it was and which chapter in Ragen’s book?

It was many years ago that Sarah Shapiro first discovered her… Read more »

2 years 18 days ago

Sorry, Rabbi Menken, you misunderstood my comment……I DISAGREE VENOMENTLY that this is NOT a private affair and yes, should be covered. Dishonesty is never a private affair especially when the author (Ragan) is prominent throughout the Jewish world.

“whether she plagiarized parts of her book is a private affair between her and the plaintiffs”
DISAGREE VENOMENTLY, WHY is dishonesty a private affair, when the author is prominent throughout the Jewish world?

Chochom b'mah nishtanah
2 years 19 days ago

Mr. Rubin,

Did I miss part of the post? You know, the part that it was addressed just to you? I fail to understand what it was about this post that generated such a violent response.

To others, such as me certainly, it is a post of interest, considering past history.

And certainly considering how it seems to have been reported in the media. Which itself should be a lesson to all those who seem to base arguments on what is reported in the secular media.


David F
2 years 19 days ago

I, for one, am very happy to read this post and I appreciate that JR took the time to update us on the progress of this lawsuit. Naomi Ragen has done enormous damage to Torah and it’s adherents with her rants against Orthodox Jews, and it is heartening to know that she has been proven to be dishonest and untrustworthy. Hopefully that will lessen the damage she’s done to a cause near and dear to the hearts of all Torah observant Jews.

2 years 19 days ago

I’ll disagree with cvmay. Shapiro was careful to point out that Ragen did not merely plagiarize her work. Rather, stories that were beautiful and uplifting were twisted into tales of oppression of women that cast the Torah community in a negative light. This was borne out by testimony of expert witnesses, including one who classed himself as more a part of Ragen’s community than Shapiro’s.

Thus, the fact that Ragen’s stories were plagiarized from Shapiro’s proves that in writing her fiction, Ragen deliberately gave a negative cast to stories about the Torah community. That is precisely the substantive rebuttal that Baruch… Read more »

Daniel Rubin
2 years 19 days ago

R’ Adlerstein, even if I were to grant that that was the intent here, the post doesn’t read that way at all. It’s just a quick stab in the dark with no help of background or context.

Maybe I’m supposed to care so much about this affair that I can immediately jump into the fray when summoned by Jonathan. But in case I’m entitled to my own life to live, I can assure you this post came off as nothing but petty and useless.

2 years 19 days ago

“whether she plagiarized parts of her book is a private affair between her and the plaintiffs”
DISAGREE VENOMENTLY, WHY is dishonesty a private affair, when the author is prominent throughout the Jewish world?

“and has no bearing on the Torah community” – That is true and neither does the typhoon in the Philippines have much bearing on the Torah Community!!

2 years 20 days ago

I hope Ms. Rosengarten’s settlement will also include a public apology.

Joe Hill
2 years 20 days ago

Thank you Jonathan Rosenblum for entering it as a matter of the public record that Naomi Ragen has lost her plagiary conviction appeal.

Steve Brizel
2 years 20 days ago

How an author is subject to a permanent injunction and drops an appeal can claim victory is mind boggling-to use the kindest possible adjectives. That is akin to a certain judge who was thrown off a case by an appellate court can claim that her drastic remedies and conclusions remain in place. What an example of Orwellian logic at work! Once again, a feminist ambulance chaser demonstrates her basic inability to discern between basic elements in the legal process, as well aqs a contempt for Halacha, let alone her unwillingness to admitthat her conduct constituted a blatant example of unrepentent… Read more »

2 years 20 days ago

I’m no fan of Naomi Ragen, but I fail to see how this lawsuit is a matter of communal importance. If her books are still popular and thus pose a threat to use by portraying our beliefs and lifestyle in a negative light, then by all means let’s respond with substantive rebuttals. But whether she plagiarized parts of her book is a private affair between her and the plaintiffs, and has no bearing on the Torah community.

Daniel Rubin
2 years 20 days ago

What in the holy hell makes you think anyone wants to read your schadenfreude about Naomi Ragen? What could possibly have been the point of this idiotic post?

[YA – I haven’t heard from Jonathan, but I will take a guess. It wasn’t schadenfreude, but protecting the reputation of Sarah Shapiro, who is a friend of several of us. Last week, Naomi Ragen sent out word on her extensive list to the effect that she had just come from the Supreme Court, which finally vindicated her. I know that I understood this to mean that the Bagatz had overturned the judgment… Read more »