Seeking Independence from an Oyster-Filled Marriage?


So was a Mr. Max Moss of Binghamton, NY when he sought an annulment from his wife on the grounds that she was not sufficiently Orthodox. His claim? She “tried to force him to eat ham, oysters, and other unkosher food.” The brief appeared in the Jewish Transcript—a precursor to the JTA—in 1924.

The best bits of history can be those that leave little trace. What else was going on here? Did Mrs. Moss tie her husband to a chair, a lobster bib round his neck? Did her apparent yen for shellfish blacklist her from subsequent matches? Was the marriage indeed annulled? And further, how did such a personal matter end up bracketed by announcements by a Jewish Glee Club and one about Douglas Fairbanks in Stephen Steps Out?

We’ll never know. But it seems safe to extract this bit of advice: when courting, ladies, don’t save your secrets—or shrimp forks—for after the wedding.

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