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Monday, June 30, 2008

Desperation is Unbecoming

We have already discussed the "throw money at it" solution for the "shidduch crisis" where cities (Baltimore, Queens, Lakewood) are holding out a gold plated carrot to entice amateurs to throw their hat into the shidduch ring. Honestly, if a person really needs more money, concentrating their money making efforts on shidduchim is probably a worse idea than going to Atlantic City or Las Vegas (also terrible ideas).

Now, parents themselves are getting in on the game, offering additional money to get their children married or even on a date. Below is an expert from a Yated letter titled "You Can Make Big Money." I must say that while I respect the hurt that singles and parents of singles go through, it seems that sinking to a level of desperation is sure to backfire, either by placing the single in a bad light (your father had to pay someone to get you on a date?!?!) or by inviting those desperate to make a buck, integrity be dammed.

I had initially planned a post on fraud for today, but scrapped it in favor of a post on shidduchim. But it seems I've managed to cover both bases at the same time. One can only hope that "big money" solution doesn't lead to an even uglier developments in the "system."

It might be very helpful to also mention any financial awards that are available to those who suggest a successful match. For example, the rabbonim in Lakewood and Baltimore have offered $2,000 to whoever marries off girls of certain ages in those communities. Another group is now offering as much as $3,000 should the girl and boy be of certain ages. I know of one desperate father who offers $50 to anyone who gets his 28-year-old daughter or 31-year-old son a quality first date (a match whom they would consider marrying should the chemistry work out). That’s $50 for
each quality first date that either of his children go out on. Should a marriage result from that match, an additional $1,000 is paid to whomever the father regards as having been responsible for that match. An additional $1,000 is given for each of the first three anniversaries of that marriage if the father feels the marriage is happy and successful. Thus, if that father’s daughter marries a boy one year younger than her and the marriage is happy and successful, the person who the father feels was responsible for the match could receive up to $3,000 from the organization that provides this reward, plus up to $4,000 from the father (after three years of happy
marriage of his daughter), for a total of $7,000 in all, if I figured out
the math correctly. Making the shidduch of this father’s son could result in
the same $3,000 (if he marries an older girl), plus the same $4,000 from the
father if the marriage is happy and successful, plus $2,000 if the girl is
eligible for the Lakewood or Baltimore incentives as well.So the money can
sure add up... Oh, if anyone wants to get in touch with that father, [name
deleted], email to You can send your profile and a
picture, or even just your phone number for a call back.

[Name Deleted]
Flatbush, Brooklyn

Please tell me I am not the only one who is beyond uncomfortable with putting our daughters and sons up for sale, so to speak. Let's remember that the merchandise is human. Ugh.


Anonymous said...

If my parents did that...they'd have a hard time finding me to go on those first dates.

Because I'd have moved to a foreign country and change my name and all identifying details.

Ok, hyperbole, but you get my point. What is this really doing for these young people's shidduchim possibilities to have it widely known that their father is so desperate that he is PAYING PEOPLE OFF to date his kids.

ProfK said...

Years back the idea of "nadan" (dowry) was still around for some people. Someone asked my dad how much nadan he was giving for his daughters. He thought a moment and answered: "My daughters are priceless jewels. They are their own nadan." And then he jokingly asked "So, how much are you willing to pay ME for the privilege of taking out one of my daughters?" There are unfortunately too many people today who look at singles as "s'choirah" and that's what you do with "merchandise": you buy it and sell it. Rachmonoh l'tzlan if that is what we have come down to.

JS said...

This left such a bad taste in my mouth. What a degrading idea this father has. And the writer for scheming about how to make the largest profit - ugh. Especially because all the writer seems to care about is relative ages to maximize profit. You can almost imagine the writer contemplating "well, this guy might be a good match, but he's too old and I wouldn't get the extra $3000 if the match worked out".

I'd love someone to explain what a "crisis" is exactly. If someone isn't married by 25 is that a crisis? If there really are so many "old" people (and since when is 25 or 30 old?) why aren't they looking amongst their ranks for dates? I think it's silly to look for someone 5-7+ years younger to "solve" this "problem".

Also, I never shidduch dated so maybe I'm off-base, but isn't there something odd or off that someone has been shidduch dating for years has been on countless dates with countless people and can't find someone? Maybe the real problem is somewhere in that fact.

aml said...

Rather than being angry or disgusted with this father, perhaps we should be sad for him- sad that this is what it’s come to. This is just like those fathers-in-law who hate the system but believe that supporting their sons-in-law is "the only way."

It’s sad that we've gone to such an extreme to separate boys and girls. And yes, I am suggesting that this so-called “crisis” is due, in large part, to this ridiculous fear of boys and girls interacting with one another.

Again, as will everything else discussed at this blog, use common sense. Don’t make the opposite sex such a thing to be feared. Teach our children to interact respectfully with one another. Allow for appropriately supervised interactions (at appropriate ages) that afford young men and young women the opportunity to get to know one another and respect one another without being on the ultimate job interview for husband or wife.

Make it better for our own kids so that we aren’t buying them dates with they’re 30.

SephardiLady said...

JS-The writer is the father. I'm not disgusted. I'm sad. I'm sad that fathers are so desperate they feel the need to buy dates for daughters and sons. I'm sad that everything is about money.

The line "Show me the Money" should stay in Hollywood and out of our kehillot.

JS said...


Really? The letter writer referred to the father in 3rd person. Nonetheless, yes it is very sad.

sara said...

It is very sad. Unfortunately, there is some 'work' in setting pple up and your average busy or uninvolved person has no interest in getting their hands 'dirty'. Hence, the $ incentive.
I am not a shadchan, am in my 20's but have been lucky enough to make a few shiduchim. It was not simple. First I asked around about boys etc... then I had to call and get in touch with them and/or their parents, Who do not know me. The back and forth is time consuming and frustrating especially when all it leads to is 1 date!! I did not do it for $ and I didnt always get $ either. I did it to help friends/aquaintances that were considered older [25+]. But I'm certian if s/o offered me X amount of money to try and get their daughter/son dates- their name would pop into my head every time I heard of a potential single....which would probably leading into that single getting more dates- and higher chances of finding the right one...
Sorry if this is a bit incoherent... just my two cents

Anonymous said...

It might not be the best thing to do, to offer money for someone to date ,marry your daughter, but the situation for girls out there to find a normal boy is very bleak.
I do not blame the father one bit.

anonymous mom said...

I understand what motivated him, I am just sad about all of it. File the following under "never gonna happen:" There is one answer that will alleviate three black hat societal problems in one shot (children being raised by people other than their moms, older parents who should be retiring and setting aside time to learn Torah and relax working hard to support young marrieds who have no source of income, and the Shidduch crisis) and that would be: send your kids to co-ed college. Forget Touro--it costs too much and the kids can't socialize. Get them into Brooklyn or Queens College--if you are from NY. And move on. In our day, the Kosher Caf at Queens College was hopping as it should have been. Out of NYers, get an apartment with a few roomates in Queens or Brooklyn and do the same. Shabbas dinners with groups of people...

DAG said...

One thing here that disturbs me that doesn't get the headlines. The father is offering 1K a year on the first 3 anniversaries if the father feels the marriage is happy and successful. The shadchan just sets up a date, his children have to go out on dates and decide to get married.

I am not sure I have ever seen a parent who hedges his bets in case HIS child married the wrong person. Notice it is if the father feels the marriage is happy and successful, NOT THE SPOUSES. Way to have faith in your kid's decisions!

Lion of Zion said...


"the situation for girls out there to find a normal boy is very bleak."

uh, i had a friend over for lunch last shabbat and he told us about some pretty disturbing girls he's been out with. the only thing that held me back from posting on my blog about my estimate of frum girls based on his stories is that i would be forever labeled a misogynist.


"In our day, the Kosher Caf at Queens College was hopping as it should have been."

i picked up my wife at the counter of the brooklyn college kosher caf. i always say that she's the only good thing i ever got there.

ProfK said...

The strange thing is that one of my cousins also met her husband at the kosher caf at Brooklyn, but she has bought into today's mishegas that coed socializing is ossur. It worked for her but she won't consider it for her kids. Where is the logic in this?

PS: She excuses this by saying that the wrong type of boy goes to Brooklyn nowadays. Sheesh.

anonymous mom said...

BTW, ProfK, it is true that many good boys are going to Touro and that other Touro thing Lander College for Men in Queens. Those types who were on a path for a career as accountant, lawyer, etc. plus Kovea Itim used to go to Brooklyn and Queens in droves. They--and their parents--have been brainwashed out of it by the Rebbes. It's time to swing the pendulum back. Maybe the costs of these schools plus today's economy will drive new decisions by these parents.

anonymous mom said...

L of Z, I'm sorry Brooklyn didn't serve you well (other than the Mrs.), but at Queens, we got an excellent education plus an opportunity to meet people from all backgrounds, as well as Jews from all backgrounds (imagine that!) on a beautiful campus. Queens is cheap and gives a great education. Really. It's such a shame, these kids aren't allowed to go there.

tdr said...

OK, I am a real hick. I've been to Brooklyn exactly once and haven't been to Manhattan but once or twice since my grandma moved out in the mid-80's. I don't know anyone who went to any of the colleges mentioned in the last two postings.

My kids are young (9,7, & 4) but will be heading to college eventually. Even though we have some time I'm still interested in getting some lowdown on the college scene in NY. YU is the only one I ever heard of.

Can someone just give a brief summary of some of the colleges that have been mentioned in the last 2 blog posts?

Email me if you prefer

Lion of Zion said...


"Where is the logic in this?"

well i guess she would argue that he has done תשובה


"I'm sorry Brooklyn didn't serve you well (other than the Mrs.)"

i actually meant that she was the only good thing i ever got at the kosher caf in specific. as far as BC is concerned in general, it served my purposes at the time.

"Maybe the costs of these schools plus today's economy will drive new decisions by these parents."

not likely. i asked a classmate of mine why he went to touro instead of queens, considering that the latter is an expensive private school. he explained (if i understood him correctly) that touro has a very logical pricing policy: full tuition does not amount to more than the combined amount of available public assistance.


i went to BC in the 90s (my impression from friends at the time that QC was the same; both are public schools). academically mediocre (but could be all you need depending on what you wanted) with little facultuy/school support (although this varied by department). many orthodox jews, but no jewish life. probably the best bargain for your dollar.

at the time YU was also academically mediocre. obviously it does have lots of orthodox jews AND a jewish life. but it comes with a price tag (they claim to be more generous than other private schools, but it's still very pricey). i was registered for YU but decided not to go at the last minute. i knew i wasn't going to learn (and you don't have to if you pick the right shiur), so i didn't see the sense in spending ivy league money for a city college education.

anonymous mom said...

Queens, Brooklyn, Hunter, Baruch are part of the constellation of colleges under the CUNY banner. City University of New York. As such, their tuitions are very low. As for education, I don't know a lot about Brooklyn's level of ed, but I do know many who went there and went on to great jobs. Queens provides a great education in many areas and is well-respected. The Ed and Psych departments where I spent most of my time are very well-regarded by those in the field. One advantage of Queens College over Brooklyn is that many frum out of towners get apartments in Kew Garden Hills, walking distance from the college, and seem to have a nice social networking system. KGH is a great place to live as a single or young married. There are even learning programs for men and women that meet at or near QC so girls may attend seminary while attending college and boys can have a regular Shiur. Baruch and Hunter are also respected. Those of my friends who attended there are doing nicely in their fields. I was listening to NPR recently and the topic being discussed was a new trend in higher education. Less emphasis on ivy league for undergraduate, sending kids to city or state schools for undergraduate and then pushing for ivy league for grad school. It seems to be paying off. In the NY area, the Touro system is a private school system where students can attend in single sex classes. Lander College for Men is a more right-wing YU. I don't know the specifics of the program, but I do see that the boys who attend seem to be serious about pursuing good jobs while committing to Torah Study. I don't know how respected the degrees from Touro are, but in my day, Touro didn't rate with other similarly priced schools. My friends who went to private institutions went to NYU and Barnard/Columbia in the city. They are very successful in their fields, but it came at a price. YU is super expensive and I think scholarships are hard to come by considering the pool of incoming freshman. It was our top choice for our sons, but we are beginning to reevaluate that. We still have time to see how things go. Good luck to you.

ProfK said...

I went to Queens both undergrad and grad and it was considered the "cream" of the 4-year CUNY schools. It is still top ranked in many areas. What is the appeal of Touro over the other colleges? Why pay the private school high tuition instead of CUNY? Shall we be really honest here and give the real reason? It's not the marvelous social life available when everyone in your class is frum, because the school provides almost no occasions for socialization. It's not the convenience of being local with the Avenue J campus and Landers in Queens, because Brooklyn College and Queens are the same convenience. It's plain and simple yeshiva and seminary credits. The average number of years spent at a CUNY college? 3-1/2 to 4. The average number of years spent at a Touro division?1-1/2 to 2 years. The difference in credits? Up to 64 yeshiva credits transferable. The maximum that any CUNY division will take is 32, there is no guarantee that they will give you all 32 and the credits are all considered blanket credits. If you need more credits than 90 to meet core requirements and major requirements they won't take them out of your yeshiva credits.

Touro was basically blackmailed by the yeshivas in Brooklyn into accepting more transfer credits as the price to be "allowed" to come into Brooklyn and the yeshivas are still always trying to win concessions for their students. They complain about curriculum and class times and everything else as well. It's not that the yeshivas are in favor of Touro--they see it as the lesser of two evils.

And you don't hear the students complaining about having to take less credits and still get a degree. In fact, the opposite is true. There are students, male and female, who believe that they are still taking more courses then they "should" be. They complain when they are asked to study certain material that forms the backbone of a 4-year college education. They also, many of them, firmly believe that a B is almost a failing mark and that all teachers should be giving out A's because b'nei Torah are bright.

tdr said...

Queens, Brooklyn, Hunter, Baruch are part of the constellation of colleges under the CUNY banner. City University of New York. As such, their tuitions are very low.

Do you have to be a NY resident to attend or get the low tuition?

I was listening to NPR recently and the topic being discussed was a new trend in higher education. Less emphasis on ivy league for undergraduate, sending kids to city or state schools for undergraduate and then pushing for ivy league for grad school.

Even more so...attending junior or community college for the first 2 years of undergrad and state school for the remainder of undergrad. State schools, while cheaper than private ones, don't strike me as terribly cheap.

I was fortunate to have attended UT/Austin in the mid-80's for grad school. I was a teaching assistant and therefore eligible for in-state tuition. It cost me about $450/semester. No I did not leave off a zeron.

Ah, those were the days!

ProfK said...

There is a different fee structure for in NY state and out of state.
Senior Colleges NYS Residents--Full-time $2,000 per semester,Part-time $170 per credit, Non-degree $250 per credit
Out-of-State Residents
$360 per credit, full-time and part-time.$530 per credit non-degree.

Community Colleges
NYS Residents
Full-time $1,400 per semester
Part-time $120 per credit
Non-degree $160 per credit
Out-of-State Residents
$190 per credit
Part-time $190 per credit
Non-degree $250 per credit

Charlie Hall said...

Off topic, but worth a post:

Charlie Hall said...

"there is some 'work' in setting pple up"

I met my wife on Much less expensive. Easy as email.

I know a couple who met in the registration line at Queens College. They are now successful physicians with three wonderful frum kids.

One more option for college should be mentioned: Israel. Our Shabat guest from last week has a daughter at Bar-Ilan. Tuition: Zero.

Anonymous said...

"I met my wife on Much less expensive. Easy as email. "

Charlie Hall, you have put the hope back into my life.

Anonymous said...

Our Shabat guest from last week has a daughter at Bar-Ilan. Tuition: Zero.

Wow, is tuition really zero at Israeli colleges? I didn't think that was the case - maybe she had a scholarship of some sort?

I went to MTA for high school and almost went to YU, but I wanted to study engineering which only worked as a 5-year program with Columbia University. The cost was way too high for our family, and the commute was very hazardous at the time (and maybe still today, those were the years when lowlifes would take potshots at us in the YU campus). And I wasn't much of a learner. In the end, I opted not to go to YU, and instead went to an engineering school in New York and finished my BSEE in 3 years (and saved a heck of a lot of money by avoiding a 4'th year of tuition!).

My brother opted to go to a CUNY school (College of Staten Island) and graduated with a 4.0! Then, a few years later, he went to law school. New York is a great city with respect to options available for higher education.

Oh, and I met my wife in Israel at a friends party and then again on a SPNI (Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel) trip. That trip was on Chol Hamoed Sukkot, we were engaged right after Pesach, and were married on Tu B'Av! When I sent her flowers (roses, of course) to her parents house for Pesach, all my mother-in-laws friends said "that's it, he is going to be your husband soon". They were correct.


Miriam said...

Baruch HaShem I am out of the dating game.

I also met my dh online. Can't remember the site, it was so long ago.

twinsmommy said...

heh. I met my husband at a convention for future Reform Rabbis. THEN we became frum. THEN we got engaged and the first Orthodox wedding we went to was our own. I thank HaShem everyday that I didn't have to do the Orthodox dating thing and I'm not looking forward to this parsha for my children.

As far as finances of college go--- we still owe $60,000 on my husband's student loans, not to mention mine.... *sigh*.

Lion of Zion said...

Dr. Hall:

israeli universities are not free for israelis, and certainly not for americans, who as non-residents pay extra.

unless the girl was an olah (i love that word). but that is an entirely different story.

triLcat said...

If you go to an Israeli university as an Israeli citizen or on a student visa, it's about $4000/year + about $150-200/month for dorms, and food is not included. There is a program called Perach which allows students to earn 47% of tuition by being a "big brother/sister" to a child with problems for 4 hours a week.

If you make aliya, "minhal hastudentim" will pay for 2.5 years of university studies. School is 3 years - you have to make the last half-year's tuition by doing a program called "shachak" which is a community service program (also about 4 hours/week).

Misrad Hashikun gives a rent subsidy which doesn't come close to covering dorms (I think it was 100 shekels when dorms were 400 shekels).

A friend of mine who is a professor at Bar Ilan says that (with the exception of Technion) Israeli universities are on par with the *good* state schools in the US. (Technion is considered excellent - I've heard it ranked very close to MIT.)

I know many people who met their spouses at Bar Ilan.

One advantage of the CUNY schools - people who went to CUNYs are generally well regarded, b/c it's understood that they went to a "lesser" school because it's cheaper rather than because they couldn't get in somewhere better.

Lion of Zion said...


and its going up

triLcat said...

yes - by $30-$200 per year.

Ariella said...

actually the boys are the ones sold, or paid for, in this kind of shidduch market. I plan to put up a link to this.

Another Ariella said...

I went to Brooklyn, I met my husband there at a political science club, I was very bent on not getting married until I was 30 because i saw the insanity my friends were going through. And yes, the Kosher cafeteria at BC is..well.... interesting. The food at the Hillel was better but more expensive. I got married at the BC Hillel November of 02' Still the most fun i ever had at a wedding.

I later transferred to Kingsborough due to bad grades, but I did so much better there, even making honors. But KBCC doesn't have the jewish life that the 4 year CUNYs have.

Charlie Hall said...

"unless the girl was an olah"

She is.

And she is nagging her parents and siblings to make aliyah and join her!

triLcat said...

"And she is nagging her parents and siblings to make aliyah and join her!"

As well she should!

Lion of Zion said...


so how is that relevant then?


"The food at the Hillel was better but more expensive."

there was no food at hillel when i was there

"KBCC doesn't have the jewish life that the 4 year CUNYs have"

i took some post-BA classes at kbcc. the teachers are wonderful and caring. (and what can beat being on the beach.) no jewish life, but CUNY doesn't really have much jewish life outside of BC/QC. my brother went to hunter and CCNY--very minimal jewish life in the former, altogether non-existent in the latter.

M said...

I'm not going to comment on the main idea of the post- I just wanted to respond to Prof K's contention that Touro cannot boast to having as one of its benefits a frum crowd for conveniences of a social life (we're not talking about the fact that many people view a frum college with frum kids and staff in favor for that reason exclusively) since there is no time for a social life- but as someone who has gone to Touro, and is looking foward to returning there next year, I do believe that the social life at Touro is better than in non-Jewish colleges, since most frum girls do not participate in the social clubs etc available there. Just the fact that one's classmates are frum Jewish girls/boys as are most Professors automatically creates a bond and social connection. I am not commenting about the rest of the points, I just wished to respectfully adress a rather minor one.