Naomi Ragen Undeterred by Plagiarism Suit

Ragen vows to keep writing after she is convicted of stealing portions of an elderly hassid's story in novel against hareidi world.

Uzi Baruch, Sarah Leah Lawent and Tova Dvorin ,

Naomi Ragen, 2004 (File)
Naomi Ragen, 2004 (File)

The Jerusalem District Court has ordered author Naomi Ragen and Keter Publishing to pay author Sudy Rosengarten 73,000 shekels ($19,124) for copyright infringement, distortion, camouflage and literary copying of “substantial and significant” portions of Rosengarten’s story, “A Marriage Made in Heaven,” into Ragen’s novel The Sacrifice of Tamar.

Rosengarten, 82, a Bobov hassid, was shocked to find that Ragen had taken a story she had written about her son and had copied it and used it to attack the hareidi world.

The ruling stated “the chapter was planted in a book that is foreign to the views and spirit of Mrs. Rosengarten as a hareidi woman.”

This is not the first copyright infringement suit that has been filed against Ragen.

Plagiarism allegations first arose in 2007 when Sarah Shapiro, along with another American-Israeli writer Michal Tal, claimed that Ragen used material from Shapiro's first book Growing with My Children in her novel Sotah.

Ragen previously vehemently denied the charges by Shapiro. She told the court that she only used Shapiro’s material as “raw material,” but a 2012 ruling stated that the author in effect intentionally copied parts of the book.

On March 27, 2012, Naomi Ragen and Sarah Shapiro reached a settlement. Ragen was ordered to pay Shapiro 233,000 shekels (over $62,500) for copyright infringement, an unprecedented amount in a plagiarism case in Israel. 

Ragen later appealed the decision in June, claiming that it set a precedent that would deny Israeli writers freedom of expression. The court also determined that some 97,000 shekels of the settlement money would go to Yad Sarah, a large Israeli charity which assists the elderly and disabled, and Yad Eliezer, Israeli's largest provider of food for the impoverished. 

Later, in November 2013, Ragen was ordered to delete 25 phrases from future editions of Sotah due to the charges.