On Ragen plagiarism appeal, a compromise by Israel’s Supreme Court

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Author Naomi Ragen must delete 25 phrases from future editions of her novel “Sotah,” Israel’s Supreme Court ruled in upholding a lower court decision it called “problematic.”

Also as part of its ruling Wednesday on Ragen’s appeal in a plagiarism case, the high court said a large portion of the $63,000 awarded in damages to haredi Orthodox author Sarah Shapiro by the Jerusalem District Court should go to two Israeli charities.

The district court had ruled in December 2011 that Ragen used parts of Shapiro’s 1990 book “Growing with My Children: A Jewish Mother’s Diary” in “Sotah,” which was published in 1992 and became a best-seller.

In a statement to her supporters, Ragen said that among the phrases she must remove are “perfectly behaved little angels” and “I forgive you.”

On her website, Ragen said that Shapiro’s goal in filing the lawsuit was to get “Sotah” off bookstore shelves because it criticizes the haredi Orthodox way of life.

In January 2012, Ragen was found not guilty by Israel’s Supreme Court of plagiarizing in her book “The Ghost of Hannah Mendes” by self-published author Michal Tal.