An Interview with Naomi Ragen
If you could visit any time, place, or person, when, where or who would you visit?
I’d like to have a long chat with Dona Gracia Mendes in Amsterdam in the 1500’s. Gracia, a Portuguese businesswoman who saved many Jews from the Inquisition, also bought land in Tiberias and was hoping to make it a haven for persecuted Jews. I’d like to tell her what happened.
If your novel were made into a movie or television series, who would you like to see in the cast?
Britney Spears would make the ultimate Rabbi’s wife ala Delilah in The Saturday Wife. Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) could play the rabbi to perfection.
What was the worst job you’ve ever had?
The worst job I ever had was operating a Xerox machine in the Board of Education. No, I take that back. The worst job I ever had was during the summer between high school and college when I worked as a secretary for a fundraiser at the UJA, an aging bachelor with a crush on another secretary. He found me much too religious and did everything he could to get rid of me. I knew I was leaving at the end of the summer to go to college, so I didn’t care, but he was unbearably annoying.
Besides being an author, what is your fantasy job?
Being a Chassidic Rebbe.
What was your best/ worst costume?
It was the Purim costume I wore in first grade. I was supposed to be Queen Esther, traditionally the most beautiful woman in the kingdom. One of my classmates said it was the first time she’d ever seen an ugly Queen Esther. I think it was the glasses.