Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities
2006—2007 Forum on Travel
Jewish History, English
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?