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Friday, October 28, 2011

The New NASI Shidduch Plan: Throw Money At It

Quick, someone, enroll "leadership" in a mandatory economics theory course because every single idea that comes out is just downright dangerous as it creates dangerous incentives. These "Game Changing" initiatives are like running radiation on every mole! This is the new North America Shidduch Initiative (NASI) Plan that was advertised in Hamodia, Yated, and 5TJT as per YWN posters. Hat Tip: YWN Coffee Room.

NASI Introduces “Game Changing Shidduch Program”
Looking to further revolutionize their work on behalf of the older singles in our midst, NASI has introduced what they are calling a “game changing shidduch program” to encourage and entice shadchanim to work with girls 22 and older.

The program was unveiled in an ad in today’s Hamodia (D17). Under the program NASI will create a list of girls 22 and older to be distributed to shadchanim across the United States. If shadchanim are to make a shidduch for any girl on the list they are guaranteed a large sum of money for their work.

For girls aged 22 they will receive $5,000; 23-$6,000; 24-$7,000; 26-$9,000; 28-$11,000; and for any girl 30 and older $13,000.

Girls on the list will be given contact information of all shadchanim participating in the program.

To get on the list a girl or her family sends in the exact amount of shadchanus money correlating to her age plus $500 to cover the costs of the program. All money is guaranteed and is available for return upon request at any time.

When a young woman gets married the money will be given to the shadchan immediately after the wedding.

Under the guidance of Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbanim NASI has been working over the past number of years with the sole purpose of trying to have as many older singles in our community get married. Their previous initiatives, a number of which have included monetary incentive, have been met with much success.

So let's talk about the incentives created:

1. Worried parents can push a shidduch quickly because if they wait a few more months, they will be out another few thousand.

2. Shadchanim can hold off suggesting a shidduch until the "girl" is a bit older because the payout will be greater.

3. Parents/"girls" with money will get service while those without the requisite funds can be relegated to the dust bin as volunteer shadchanim are tempted by the $dollars$.


File this under "Throw Money At It Solution". It might "work" for some, but it can change behavior for the worse. I think that a lot of the (quote, unquote) shidduch crisis would be alleviated if people remember that marriage is not an end, but a beginning.

52 comments:

Upper West Side Mom said...

Or you can let young men and woman have normal social interactions with each other.

Orthonomics said...

That would be too simple Upper West Side Mom.

P. Almonius said...

"running radiation on every mole"?

Anonymous said...

This is entirely consistent with the idea of women as chattle.

Anonymous said...

This also ignores the fact that "solutions" like this are part of the problem. This solution says if you are a girl and you are 22 there is a major problem. If the girl g-d forbid turns 23 and is still signle it is an even bigger problem. Putting this social pressure on girls in not healthy.

Is the problem really that girls aren't getting dates because there is no financial incentive for people to set them up? I find that hard to beleive.

Also this will lead the schadchnim in this "network" pushing people on dates because they want $$$ and not because the schidduch makes sense.

There are a lot of problems out there, but unfortunately the "solutions" seem to make the problems much worse.

Nephew of Frum Actuary said...

I plain and simply don't trust the "Roshei Yeshiva" to have the money when needed. Call me a cynic, but I can just see someone "borrowing" the money to keep their yeshiva running. Give me a lawyer with a trust account any day.

I agree that the money will help those that participate, if for nothing else that shadchanim will "go for the green". NASI though has shown itself no longer interested in solving the problem (that they claim there aren't enough boys for girls), but are using their "name" to help the rich (and pocket "the costs of the program"). Getting a few girls married is not a gamechanger.

As a related point: Isn't it time that we told our daughters that getting married isn't the end all, as many of them will not do so? That one can be happy and live a Torah life without a spouse?

Anonymous said...

I have always worried that the publication of the over-availability of girls 22 and over for marriage will endanger the marriages and family life of married women in their 30's and 40's. How many dissatisfied men there are, and the idea that a 22 year old, fresh and young, is available for him to start his life over is too tempting. Since I personally know of divorces where the man was able instantly to remarry a never married "older" single, I think the availability of single girls of 22 and 23 has been overpublicized and to the detriment of existing marriages and existing children of those marriages. Do we need a sign on Coney Island Avenue saying, "DIVORCE YOUR OVERWEIGHT 35 YEAR OLD WIFE. DUMP YOUR CHILDREN! A NEW YOUNG 22 YEAR OLD IS AVAILABLE AT A BARGAIN PRICE!"

Anonymous said...

Wait a moment---don't parents with money already have the attention of shadchanim?

ProfK said...

Anonymous, you're mixing up two problems and coming up with a faulty cause and effect relationship. If men in their 30s and 40s are dissatisfied then that is one problem. Why are they dissatisfied? Could it possibly be that pushing them into marriage while they are still youngsters and after only a few dates has resulted in marriages with a shaky foundation right from the get go? Seeing a poster about shidduchim that are available is not going to be the cause of their divorces--it's only a symptom.

The second problem is distinctly different. Since when is a woman of 21+ an "older" single? Why have we done this to our young women? And now they are going on the auction block with their parents paying a steep fee to marry them off? Last I heard auctioning off people is illegal, immoral and should make any person of normal intelligence and caring gag.

If this is the best that the leaders of Klal could come up with, it's more than time for new leadership.

Anonymous said...

ProfK, from what I see, many men in the secular world are dissatisfied in their 40s also, and they weren't pushed to get married at age 20. It's called a midlife crisis. No defense, but how many men in the secular world divorce their fortyish wife and hook up with a younger trophy?

G*3 said...

Aside from all the other issues, the numbers seem way too high. How many hours does it take to make a shidduch for an “older single?”

Given that being a shadchan is unskilled labor – that is, you don’t need any special education or skills, just a list of singles and a phone - $20 and hour seems generous. That works out to 250 hours of work for a 22-year-old. Does it really take so much time? If so, then setting up eight 22-year-olds a year is equivalent to a full-time job.

Aside from all the other issues, the numbers seem way too high. How many hours does it take to make a shidduch for an “older single?”

Given that being a shadchan is unskilled labor – that is, you don’t need any special education or skills, just a list of singles and a phone - $20 and hour seems generous. That works out to 250 hours of work for a 22-year-old. Does it really take so much time? If so, then setting up eight 22-year-olds a year is equivalent to a full-time job.

In that vein, maybe we’d have better success if “shadchan” WAS a profession, instead of something people did in their spare time as a chesed.

Keep in mind, the shadchan isn’t actually getting paid for his-her work, just for a marriage. A shadchan could work with a single for years without success, only to have his payout taken by another shadachan who happened to get lucky on his first try.

Anonymous said...

Is it too cynical to believe that the entire NASI project was a long con?

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind, the shadchan isn’t actually getting paid for his-her work, just for a marriage. A shadchan could work with a single for years without success, only to have his payout taken by another shadachan who happened to get lucky on his first try.

Much like a real estate broker.

JS said...

I can't help but laugh at this.

I'm curious what those who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of this new initiative think. It's pretty obvious what everyone here thinks, but do those this is meant to help think it is a good idea? If so, the leadership is doing a great job. Or, are they just as out of touch with their own constituents as they are with the people who read this blog?

What's the typical payout to a shadchan anyways? How does the price for a 20 or 21 year old compare to $5k for a 22 year old?

Mark said...

JS - I'm curious what those who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of this new initiative think.

They can't say what they think. It's bad for shidduchim.

nephew of frum actuary said...

"They can't say what they think. It's bad for shidduchim."

LOL, and in the middle of the office too!

Anonymous said...

A Modest Proposal:
The plight of these poor girls and their burdened parents must be the top priority of our leaders. Of course, the end to the North American Shiduch Crisis is as simple as 1,2,3 if the community would simply open their eyes and hearts to an age old solution. Once a girl reaches a certain agreed age--say 23 or 24 (let's give the 22 year olds one last shot)-- a girl should be deemed no longer available for marriage. That's it. Over. Of course, at that point she should be made available to the entire community for whatever purposes they see fit; cleaning help, babysitting, pilegesh, etc. The girls can be shared as a communal asset or auctioned off to the highest bidder--with the proceeds being split between the girls family and the local schools to help alleviate the tuition crisis. If we would just recognize that after a certain age, girls are inherently worth less and will just never actually find someone willing to marry them, we could forgo these bizarre economic incentives to have Shadchans place older girls for more money. This is a plan, that if implemented would end the crisis SWIFTLY.

Anonymous said...

An "Immodest" Proposal?

But its good material. Many men would not dump their spouse just because she is past her prime in favor of an unknown girl roughly their oldest daughter's age. The pilegesh/maid/babysitter idea will appeal to a wider audience and should be pursued further.

Anonymous said...

I spake in jest, of course.

Anonymous said...

This opens up all sorts of possibilities. If we are going to be so superficial that a woman over 21 or 22 is considered inferior goods, how about sliding scale fees based on body mass index?

Zach Kessin said...

Anon 2:03PM

Don't give them any ideas.

rosie said...

In my crowd, shadchanim make between $1000 and $1800 per side. Halacha has it that even if a woman makes shidduchim for her own grandchildren, she gets paid the going rate.
I do agree that the current shidduch situation has caused unscrupulous individuals to take advantage of families who are operating in crisis mode. This kind of reminds me of getting the poor of the frum community involved in MLM or getting sick people to ingest mlm'ed algae (fish food)or other health supplements sold to those with little hope left.
In our crowd, many singles have decided to meet directly through friends and leave their parents out of it. That usually happens when singles are a bit "older" and not financially dependent on their parents anymore.
I am waiting for a rabbi to tell people how to look with a good eye at the people who are available and interested in the single person. I know of singles who get plenty of offers but none are good enough.

Mike S. said...

I am appalled at the assumption (seemingly accepted both above and in the YWN thread) that 40 year old religious men are dying to leave their wives for 22 year olds. As a middle aged man myself, I find the very idea of a relationship of that sort with a girl my daughters age revolting. What kind of shallow ninny would behave that way? Perhaps I am lucky that I find my wife more attractive after 3 decades+ of marriage than I did when were were in our early 20's (not that I wasn't attracted then.) What kind of experience have these couples had in marriage that doesn't add to the attraction? I am sure that if one were to judge from photographs most men would say that my wife was more attractive at 20 than she is in her 50's, but really all those years of building a life together has brought us closer. If you are religious shouldn't you be able to get beneath the surface, at least for your spouseof many years?

Perhaps if the communities let the young couples get to know one another in a less artificial environment (say going to college or working together), they could begin by finding someone they liked rather than someone who their parents or teachers think would be a prestigious match?

anon1 said...

If not for shallowness here and there, would the "crisis" itself even exist?

Opinionated Canadian said...

As a baal teshuva I find this totally disturbing. That people aren't motivated to help others unless money is thrown at them. That the blackmailing of parents goes beyond a son in law who insists on being carried but also to matchmakers. That the funds need to be grabbed and held in escrow by some organization instead of being kept by the parents until the relevant time. I personally don't believe this is a real organization. There is no address; no list of rabbanim; no contact person by name. It smells horrible.

In my circles we try to hook people up because we care about them - every daughter of Israel is like a sister. We have real jobs and so don't have to resort to grabbing money from others for nominal services.

We have to understand this money - damim - is like blood. Charging these fees is similar to physically hurting the parents - which it probably does due to stress.

Why do we have to make ourselves so miserable?

Count me out.

Anonymous said...

Mike S., I don't know why you're surprised that religious people have the same foibles and weaknesses as all people - weaknesses for overeating, weaknesses for materialism, and yes, weaknesses for attractive people of the opposite sex. Religious people have midlife crises and psychological issues just like any other people. One hopes that religious people control their weaknesses within the parameters of their religious laws, but it's unrealistic to expect people not to have weaknesses just because they're part of a religious community.

Yes, one hopes religious people would be less shallow, but there are shallow people who are religious and deep people who are nonreligious or even atheists.

Anonymous said...

"Isn't it time that we told our daughters that getting married isn't the end all, as many of them will not do so? That one can be happy and live a Torah life without a spouse? "

Maybe you should tell them that being "frum" is not the end all?

Is the (self-manufactured) crisis really so bad that you would train your daughters not to expect a normal life?

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:09, even in the nonreligious world, there are women (and men) who will never find a life partner. It's not crazy to tell young people that they will never have every heart's desire. Even if a young person is fortunate to find a spouse easily, how will that person deal with other potential life crises - illness, unemployment, infertility, untimely loss of a family member, even divorce - if no one tells them that not everyone will live "happily ever after"?

Anonymous said...

"It's not crazy to tell young people that they will never have every heart's desire."

Of course not, but people don't tell their kids about many potentially horrible things which might occur. Unless you actually think that their staying single is a strong possibility, you wouldn't do so either.

rosie said...

to opinionated Canadian:
There are people who are motivated to help others but after awhile of trying to set people up, only to find that what they are willing to marry only exists in fairy tales, most people get discouraged and give up. Finding them what they want would take a massive amount of effort and time that no ordinary mortal has. Basically they are giving someone a salary to comb the globe for a perfect human from a perfect family for their perfect daughter who went to a perfect seminary.
I have been to some lovely weddings lately of some imperfect people who married other imperfect people and are now beginning their imperfect lives together. Now isn't that perfect?

Mike S. said...

I am, of course, not surprised that it happens that religious men sometimes leave their wives for younger women. I am surprised that it is so casually accepted. What is the purpose of being religious if not to make one a better person? And help one overcome human weakness? If this is really common in a religious community shouldn't prompt some soul-searching rather than shrugging of shoulders at human weakness. Recall that the earlier comment was a concern that having a list of "older" singles would break up many marriages, not that an occassional guy would leave his wife.

rosie said...

What sometimes goes on in the frum community reminds me of the mafia. The mafia members are good Catholics that go to mass, pray with the rosary, confess to the priest, marry other Catholics, and send their kids to Catholic schools. At the same time, they murder for pay. Somewhere there is a disconnect between "thou shalt not kill" which is what prevents Catholics from having abortions, and their job as professional murderers.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:20, I think the opposite is the problem in the frum world - people tell their kids that there is a "zivug" spouse designated for them at conception by God, and use trite (but empirically false) statements like "every pot has a lid". It wouldn't be so bad if people were slightly more honest and said realistically that almost every pot has a lid, but a few people will, unfortunately, remain single.

If nothing else, older singles might stop blaming themselves for their fate. It's hard to feel like an unfortunate statistic, but it's better than beating oneself up, feeling that if only one were more careful in one's religious observance, God would unite one with his or her mate.

Caroline said...

1. It is offensive and sad that people panic about a single 22-year-old.

2. From the list above, it appears that 29-year-olds have no redemption (oops, I meant marriage) value.

3. If people would stop looking for the perfect match and start seeing the "perfect for them" match, that might alleviate some of this alleged crisis.

4. Single people--yes, even single women--have brains and do not appreciate being told that their being unmarried is a problem to be solved only by outrageous sums of money changing hands. While the community is worried about what it looks like for a 20-something woman to be unmarried, perhaps more time should be spent not making her feel like her status makes her unworthy and pitied.

Disclaimer: I am 33 years old and was single until my wedding five months ago.

Caroline said...

...and yes, I'm in the frum community.

Anonymous said...

Most people setting up do it for the mitzva, not the money. I have set up tons of people, many times people went out seriously, for a good few months. I think the $1000-$1800 is way too much for poor families/singles, and I think the prices quoted here are outrageous. The solution is to hire full-time people to work as community shadchans. LA hired a shadchan for their Bais Yaakov girls - a yeshiva hires a guy for their guys, etc. then whoever pays the salary tells them who to work with. Personally, I think people should leave young singles alone, and work with people 28 and up, or 30 and up. The fundraisers should pay people to interview, call, and suggest shidduchim for their group. This should be a salary. If someone gets married, they should be asked to donate $500 to go towards funding more shadchans for other singles, with perhaps a modest gift to the shadchan who made the match and/or the one who set them up the most. I hope the idea presented in the post is a bad joke.

I;ve got a daughter and I am chilled said...

In the RW world where almost 100% of shiduchim are thru shadchonim, the concept of the NASI project is to "encourage" shadchanim to not only think about older single girls but use this '$ carrot' as a way to convince their male clients to date an "older" girl.

Yes, the fact that only those girls who pay in these large funds will be on the shadchans "push these girls first" list, makes me sad.

But for those of you who immediately assume that a bunch of RW 40 year old men will dump their wives to marry someone their daughters age, the talmud has an expression for you "Kol she-passul bi-mumo possul".

Anonymous said...

The 40 plus frum men who want to leave their wives can find lots of 33-35 year old single women to choose from. I've seen it happen. Marriages have been broken up where many children are involved because there are single women in their 30s, often with independent means, who can improve the life of the man not only personally, but financially. If you have not encountered this, you are fortunate. I still think the public obsession over the excess of singles presents a temptation to dissatisfied married men.

Anonymous said...

Two of my daughters met their future spouses, now current spouses, at a coed college. Send your child to a coed college, have mixed seating at their coed wedding, and tell your unmarried daughters that marriage is no bargain" if you don't marry someone you will be happy with" and "someone you want to spend your time with".
If you are going to make it a stigma to be a single in your 20's or 30's, you will teach your daughter to be "desperate." I didn't marry until I was almost 25, and I married very, very well!

JS said...

Here's the solution:

1) Remove the takana of rebeinu gershom and allow men to marry more than one wife.

2) Put in place a new takana or communal norm that the 2nd wife must be older than the 1st wife, 3rd wife older than the 2nd wife, etc.

3) The money that would go to the shadchan goes to the guy who marries the older single.

That solves the older singles problem, the married middle-aged man leaving his wife for a young girl problem, and it solves the poverty problem too - every learning guy now gets a marriage bonus and more than one wife to work and support him.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous at 3:24
Just to let you know, the idea of having a shadchan work for a specific group of people (basically bought by the school/yeshiva) doesn't always work. I am not saying which city I know this about, for obvious reasons. I have relatives/friends in many cities. There are plenty of cities that have tried it. It does work some of the time, but:
a) I believe some are paid for by a wealthy family whose daughter is "older". You need a really wealthy person to back this up. what happens when their daughter is married?
b) A school's shadchan has flatly told some girls "sorry, don't got anyone for you. you are too XYZ so don't bug me anymore or try to meet with me." fill in any adjective that means the girl doesn't fit the norm but still went to the school. Could be an issue of lack of wealth, being too smart ect. These are normal girls but just aren't cookie-cutters so no suggestions at all.

Oh, and why is being 21 or 22 so old? They are only now allowed to buy alcohol! what do these 18 year old boys and girls doing for shabbos then... ?

Anonymous said...

I have heard that many couples meet via the internet- religious dating websites, HOWEVER, many will not admit to it even when asked.
So if you are a mother of a single, marriageable age child, tell them to give some of these websites a try.
Not every married couple who "met through a friend", really did!

shmichelfoofer said...

as a parent of teenagers, this issue does not affect me yet but will in the semi-near future and it scares the heck out of me!
not only do i have to: send daughter to Israel for $20G, send her to some sort of college program when she comes back, pay for her wedding and support her for x years, all while continuing to pay my own expenses and those of my younger children, now I also have to come up with several thousand dollars for the shadchan?
(all this after sitting in kollel for 10 years myself?)

what world do they think we are living in where parents could snap their fingers and come up with all this $$$?

shmichelfoofer said...

if you are going to be resigned to spending that money, instead of giving it to the shadchan, why not give it to the guy who is kind enough to take your daughter off your hands as a kind of bonus?

that will sweeten the deal, needing less pushing of a shadchan

rosie said...

what people are forgetting is that even if the shadchan was not doing it for the money but purely for the mitzvah, they are 100% entitled to the going rate and should be paid. If they want to fore go the money or give it back as a gift, that is their choice but they should be given the money and there is absolutely nothing wrong, and everything right, for them to accept it. It is money honestly earned, unless they told an unacceptable lie in order to sell the shidduch. Some lies are perfectly halachichly acceptable as well when it comes to shidduchim. Ask a rabbi but it is often OK to add an inch or two of height, subtract a dress size, or slightly 'alter' the age in order to get the couple to meet.

Anonymous said...

Rosie-
Lies are acceptable? Do you work with couples who are going through or contemplating a divorce? I do. Don't sell a shidduch through lies. Don't.
Yes, things like dress size or height the potential partner can figure out on their own after the first meeting. But anything deeper than that must really be considered. Don't take this as a heter to lie about anything deeper than dress size. Please- you will make my life and my client's lives that much easier.

Ariella said...

I put up links to your posts. Thanks for sparing the effort of going through how very misguided this is.

Miryam said...

I am a single, 26 year old woman who has a good job, a full life and a belief that WHATEVER happens is ultimately meant to be. What I don't believe, however, is that I am some sort of "damaged goods" to the point that I would have to "bribe" someone $9,000 to even consider setting me up with a potential spouse. It's sad for me to see that the going rate for shadchanus, in addition to the mitzva of making the match, is not enough entice a shadchan to attempt to set up anyone who comes to him/her for help.

Abacaxi Mamao said...

Harumph! Clearly, very disturbing. (As a single, frum, 32-year-old woman.)

Abacaxi Mamao said...

(Oh, and I also don't think I am damaged goods. I am sad that I am still single, though. Not being in RW circles, these articles don't really speak to my reality. But trust me, online dating is no panacea.)

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