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Sunday, January 03, 2010

Anyone Want to Guess the Fallout of Such a Proposal

I really wish that economics was a course required of all Yeshiva students so I wouldn't feel compelled to play armchair economist. What would the fallout of such a proposal be? I have my guesses (premature engagements, singles shut out of the dating process because it is already unaffordable, dinei Torah over small claims matters), but I want to hear yours. Let me just re-state my belief that social re-engineering and the "shidduch crises" can likely be correlated to a growing divorce rate. But, go ahead and try this. Similar ideas have been proposed before and the "throw money at it solution" always has it's true believers.

The more I torture myself reading these shidduch crisis letter, the more I'm ready to throw all the complainers into a big vineyard and let them sort it out for themselves.

IF IT’S BROKEN, LET’S FIX IT
Dear Editor,
If there is one thing that is obvious from the recent letters in the Yated regarding shadchanim and the shidduch process, it is that the present system is so clearly broken. Overwhelmed shadchanim, frustrated singles and parents, letters to the Yated… Where does it all end?

The following is a proposal that will go a long way towards fixing the problem.

As long as shadchanim get compensated only when they complete a shidduch, we can rest assured that there will continue to be a significant shortage of active shadchanim, thus ensuring the continuance of the vicious cycle. We, as a community, need to realize that redding a shidduch is a service no different than tutoring or any other job, and thus needs to be similarly compensated for.

A realistic proposal is that if a boy and girl meet three times, the shadchan, professional or not, at that point, should be paid $150 by each side. Three times clearly indicates a worthwhile suggestion with all the work involved and compensation is in order. As the shidduch continues, each side should pay $50 for each additional date. This payment should not be viewed as hakoras hatov, but rather as fair compensation for the valuable service the shadchan is providing. When we pay someone to learn with our children, we don’t consider his fee to be a token of hakoras hatov. Similarly, we shouldn’t view paying a shadchan any differently.
Implementing such a change would result in far more people redding shidduchim. Many potential shadchanim are paralyzed by the thought that unless a couple gets engaged, it is all a waste of time. In addition, people would be far more willing to redd shiddcuim to slightly older girls. The saying, “Young and dumb,” is somewhat true and is a primary reason that many shadchanim choose to focus on the younger girls.


If shadchanim were rewarded for their efforts, and not just for the finished deal, many more would try much harder for the slightly older girls. That would inevitably result in far more shidduchim for those girls.
N. P.

28 comments:

aml said...

Sounds expensive. And silly. *eyes roll*

ProfK said...

Youch! "Professional" shadchanim, those who take a sum for their services if a shidduch is made, already (many of them) require a part of that sum up front to "cover expenses." Those in the shidduch groups and circles do not/will not take money for their services, seeing shidduch making as something they do "l'shem mitzvah," and throwing money at them won't result in more work being done--they already are doing all that work without compensation.

It's not the amount of work being done by shadchanim that is the problem with shidduch making today, and throwing money at the problem won't solve anything.

SL, my friend thought about your vineyard solution and went a step further. Her idea was to lock 10 boys and 10 girls into a room for 1/2 hour. At the end of that time anyone not engaged was going to get shot. Can't be any worse than the way the system works today.

LeahGG said...

here's a crazy idea - how about instead of separating boys and girls at every possible point in time, let them SEE each other once in a while... How about at a wedding, put the single girls and the single boys next to each other to eat?!

oy gevalt, they might talk to each other, and who knows where that could lead!

David said...

@LeahGG:

I couldn't agree more: weddings in particular are excellent places for men and women to meet - after all, they already have something (the bride or groom) in common, it's a happy affair (but often one where there's a decent amount of down-time), and it's no-pressure.

I'll accept the idea that there is a "crisis" only after the folks who do everything in their power to prevent people from naturally meeting on their own stop doing so.

G*3 said...

All this would do is cause people to go on fewer dates. If you get engaged after only two dates, you don't have to pay all these extra fess!

$50 a date is ridiculous. At what point does the couple stop paying? When they get engaged? Why not when they stop speaking to the shadchan, and set up their own dates like big boys and girls?

Anonymous said...

There are pros and cons to any compensation method. There is something to be said for an hourly fee or similar type of arrangement. There are many professionals who get paid for their time even if the desired results are not achieved. For example, doctors get paid even if the patient dies or the disease is not healed. There are two different methods for paying lawyers. Personal injury suits are often on a condition fee basis. However, other types of litigation - like divorse or most commercial litigation and criminal defense is never on a contingent fee.

Anonymous said...

This has to be one of the worst suggestions on the subject I've ever read.

Light of Israel said...

There are some rabbis who strongly encourage mixed seating at weddings for the exact reasons above. It is a great place / time and enviroment for singles to meet.

Anonymous said...

leah gg

worse,
it might lead to mixed dancing

(that the punch line on an old joke)

LeahGG said...

next thing you know, men and women might MARRY EACH OTHER!

(and yes, I've heard the joke, many many many times)

rosie said...

Shidduchim is like selling real estate. There is only a fee paid when a sale is made. Anyone in sales knows that they don't get paid until they sell something and shidduchim is selling. If a shadchan is also doing life coaching then they should be paid by the hour but not if they only suggest names. Parents of older girls or the older singles themselves can offer to double or at least increase the shadchanus if a suitable shidduch is found.

megapixel said...

LOL to the idea of shooting anyone that is not engaged! funny. sometimes people just need a Little push...
anyway as far as the mixed seating idea, let us not forget that the reason for separating the sexes is to protect people from falling for someone and getting emotionally involved before vetting them and finding out whether they are appropriate life partners. there are circles where men and women mingle and we dont see less of a crisis there.
I wouldnt say no to some peeking over the mechitza though...or maybe a quick intro in the hallway...

rosie said...

There are shadchanim who charge an upfront fee for interviewing and "registering" a "client" but there is no further obligation on their part to find that person a shidduch if they have not specifically agreed to spend a certain amount of time searching on their behalf. Sometimes after spending the time interviewing the single, it becomes obvious that only a miracle will make that person get married. Prayer helps.

Anonymous said...

Rosie: That's the problem. Have you ever met a real estate agent who valued making sure you got the right house for you over making the sale. Spouse are not goods to be sold on commission. It distorts the process.

rosie said...

http://www.aish.com/jl/l/48960726.html
anon, or anyone else for that matter, read up on how the tradition of Jewish matchmaking developed. Remember that if someone makes a bad match, people avoid those shadchanim. We see that it evolved into a business centuries ago.

Anonymous said...

In general people don't like to be told what to do and you don't want create a disincentive to continue to a 3rd date because of a fee . . . But if a shadchan gets a suggestion as far as three dates (assuming there was some material amount of work involved whether it was 30 minutes or 10 hours), it is obvious to be that one should be grateful and DEMONSTRATE gratitude with a gift of some kind, at the VERY least flowers for shabbos, if one is under financial strain. This is something my parents did.

Anonymous said...

I find it ironic how cynical you are that intervention might prove benficial in a social issue, while not being able to comprehend concerns about vaccines, also a form of intervention (despite the obvious concerns about injecting disease and chemicals into ones bloodstream, and despite mixed information on hieghtened risks relating to autism, and the fact that vaccines contained poisonous mercury for decades).

I find your views to be extreme and not adequately balanced. I longtime fan starting to lose interest.

Anonymous said...

Should say "A longtime fan starting to lose interest."

Charlie Hall said...

Anonymous January 03, 2010 8:20 PM,

There is no "mixed information" on autism except lies spread by the anti-vaccine folks. There is no link between vaccines and autism and there never has been. The original report that claimed to find a link was based on doctored data and the people responsible are under investigation for scientific misconduct.

People who refuse to vaccinate their kids are putting at risk not only their own kids but everyone they come in contact with who is either not old enough to be vaccinated or has a (rare) vaccine contraindication.

Charlie Hall said...

A generation ago, frum men met frum women at co-ed synagogue events, secular colleges, Jewish community centers, and at simchas. They tended to get married if they liked each other, and to raise frum kids. And the divorce rate was much lower. Why did we fix what wasn't broken?

Orthonomics said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Orthonomics said...

I'd don't oppose dating intervention in the least. I have stated before that I think matchmaking/shidduchim has a number of benefits. In fact, I'm a beneficiary myself.

What I oppose is social re-engineering, especially social re-engineering that is discriminatory as this idea clearly is. This idea most certainly discriminates against those unable to pay $150 after three dates multiplied by the number of people one must date three times to end up married.

I don't care for "throw money at it" solutions such as the funds set up to pay shadchanim who make a shidduch for a specific demographic.

I have heard that there are shadchanim hired by communities at large. I don't oppose that type of plan because (at least in theory) it allows shadchanim to be paid for their time while discriminating against those with less and placing financial pressure upon daters to their detriment.

I don't know what this post has to do with vacinations. The CDC, census bureau and other agencies keep detailed records on the rates of infectious disease and polio, mumps, and measles and it is hard to deny the relationship.

I don't dare draw conclusions regarding shidduchim without real data, but it doesn't appear that social re-engineering is eliminating prolonged singlehood.

Anonymous said...

Here's a better idea:
It should be a new minhag that the day after every engagement, the chasan and kalla have to spend at least an hour together describing their friends to each other to try to make matches.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that one of the major causes of the "shidduch crisis" is not something that can be solved.

Namely: Orthodox Jewry has fragmented itself into very narrow ideological streams. There is a whole host of contentious issues that make us feel a bit uneasy around those who take a different position than us. This means that when a boy or girl decides to start dating, he/she is from the outset starting with a very narrow pool of those of the opposite gender within his/her age range that has exactly his/her "hashkafa." And because each person's "hashkafa" includes views on a wide range of different issues, the pool of prospects is. fro the very beginning, very small.

As I said, I don't know if there's a solution. In communal life, we certainly can and must be open and flexible, and be able to establish close friendships and work relationships with people despite their positions on sensitive issues. But when a person searches for a lifelong mate, this kind of openness is much more complicated.

Charlie Hall said...

'he/she is from the outset starting with a very narrow pool of those of the opposite gender within his/her age range that has exactly his/her "hashkafa." '

My wife and I met on frumster.com. We checked different hashkafa boxes in our profiles. My rabbi had gone to YU, hers to Lakewood.

In the shidduch system, we might never have met.

David said...

Bad idea. The Orthodox community should be worrying about lowering costs not raising them. How about using cheap sites like Frumster.com or others?

rosie said...

http://www.shmais.com/gordondetail.cfm?ID=84
Here is an interesting article that a Lubavitch website posted from a 5 towns paper. Larry Gordon, the author of the article, talks about the importance of a diversified approach to helping the shidduch crisis. Two of the things he mentions is using Frumster and making gatherings where men and women can meet.

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