Sarah Breger

Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities

20062007 Forum on Travel

Sarah Breger

Jewish History, English

College '07

Sentenced to Marriage: “Chained Women” in Wartime

Under Jewish law, a woman may only remarry if she has received a valid bill of divorce or if there is proof of the death of her husband. Without one of those conditions, the woman becomes an ‘Agunah’ or chained woman, unable to remarry for fear her children will be classified as Mamzerim (bastards) and forbidden to enter the congregation of Israel (i.e., marry a Jew) for ten generations. How valid is the pre-conditional bill of divorce in wartime? What does the U.S. experience in wartime reveal about what happens when the husband never returns home?