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Women, Family, and Property

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that court proceedings related to property can shed on the history of Jewish women. The detailed case summary focuses on the Metz Beit Din's intensive efforts to establish the facts, the credibility of the testimony, and responsibility. Marriage as portrayed in the Pinkas consists of a labyrinth of details pertaining to consumption, the sharing of material assets, and the difficulties of maintaining a household and earning a livelihood. It hardly needs to be emphasized that the ownership of marital property, its disposition upon divorce or the death of one of the spouses, and responsibility for debts incurred over the course of the marriage were subject to significant social, cultural, and regional variations. The posture of the Metz rabbinic court represents a fundamentally new approach signifying nothing short of a paradigm shift in the two decades prior to the French Revolution and the bestowal of citizenship.

Keywords: divorce; French Revolution; Jewish women; marital property; Metz Beit Din; Pinkas



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