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Thursday, November 10, 2011

NASI: Is Someone Reading This Blog? and Continued Commentary

While I am not supportive of NASI's newest project for a myriad of reasons, including one which I will discuss below, I have to say I was a bit surprised to see the recent announcement at 5TJT's regarding internal controls and other things. It will be impossible to convince me that NASI will create an "airtight" financial system. There simply is no such thing. But I guess the sales pitch is similar to selling a girl on the market: they are all aaaaamazing! That said, requiring two signatures, only one of which will be a Rosh Yeshiva's signature, is a step in the right direction. I also see NASI has announced that no money from the new program will be used for the debt of the old program. It is almost like someone is reading this blog.

Let's cut to come other commentary in no particular order:

NASI continues to say that if it doesn't work, we are back where we started. This type of thinking is a fallacy. Taking $5,000 - $13,000 out of the bank accounts of families and young women from coast-to-coast surely comes with an opportunity cost, does it not? The time invested alone into the project means other ideas can't be pursued.

NASI is building this program on their belief that the "age gap" needs closed in order for Orthodox Jewish females to marry. They have a tremendous investment in this theory and their (throw-money-at-it) is tied to this singular issue. As I read the newest press release, I can't help but be concerned that they will declare the program a success, which leads to an tremendous communal opportunity cost.

In fact, NASI is already talking about involving communal funds should the program prove to be a success to create "parity between the haves and the have-nots." Creating parity, mind you, isn't a Tu B'Av initiative of wealthier single ladies lending their clothing to poorer single ladies to even the playing field. It involves MONEY. . . . . communal money. . . money that could be used to help fund K-12 yeshiva education. . . .money that could be used to help sick people. . . money that could be used for job programs/education. NASI asks, "Can there be a bigger communal chesed than having identified the price/cost that it takes to get a girl married? And remember, these communal funds will only get used once the girl(s) walks down the aisle."

Making marriage even more expensive and taking even more money out of the tzedakah pot is hardly a "chessed" in my book.

Over at YWN Coffee Room, someone sold on the NASI programwrites:

To everyone what is every bodys problem with NASI .If they set it up right and the money is protected ,show me 1 girl that gets engaged thru them that wont be happy.Trust me i am a shadchan when amotherof a 29 year old girl calls me ,i feel terrible because parents are burned out ,they heard almost every name ever created and the parents dont know at this point what their daughter is looking for.The same problem is with the boys.So please respect this org. and give them a chance to prove themselves to us that they mean buisness and chesed for older girls and telling us shadchanim to work on the older girls and not look for the easy way out.

This is sure to come out the wrong way (and, by no means to I believe that every 29 year old without a spouse has a "problem" at all), but the above is precisely why I think the throw-money-at-shadchanim solution is so faulty. The shadchan above mentions that there are older singles who have heard every name in the book. Some of these singles have even been out on dates with over 100 singles, none which have meant their fancy. Like I mentioned above, for each decision made, there is an opportunity cost. NASI is promoting a throw-money-at-shadchanim solution. But, if singles --or their Mommy/Daddy--have some (dare I say it?) underlying issues (from physical to emotional to employment issues), what good will that money do? There might just be better ways to spend/invest the money and end up under the same chuppah.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I think the shidduch 'problem' could very closely tied with the 'problems' in the current system taught today as 'kosher' Judaism.

The emphasis on kollel...instead of guys working [either in a business, investments, or as an employee] part of the day, and learning at set times.

The emphasis on learning and rote observance over the emphasis on development of good middot and emunah alongside the learning and mitzvot. The problem here becomes one of 'he/she is not frum enough for me'. Alongside this is the emphasis on 'cultural' labels and custom [nonsense like the kind of kippah, etc] and 'are you yeshivish modern, shomer mitzvot, yeshivish this or that, he ashkenazi or sephardi, does he eat rice on pesach or not etc. How long as he/she been religious, etc.

Perhaps there is more that I have not mentioned, but one last thing comes to mind that complicates the process: excessive pickiness, and an incorrect view of what marriage is. From my own experience [before I married a few years ago] and hearing of others' experiences, many singles have incorrect views on marriage and unrealistic expectations of their potential spouses.

Dave said...

Why would anyone entrust funds to an organization that has already shown it doesn't meet its financial commitments?

Or have I misunderstood the money they owe for their existing program?

Miami Al said...

If there is an "age gap" problem, then there is no solution (part of the reason it's stupid to pursue this line of thought, it's NOT true, but if it were true, it's not solvable). If there are simply more women than men that are looking to get married in a closed environment, there will simply be unmarried women.

You can rearrange the deck chairs to make certain that richer girls get married first, but the existing market does that pretty well anyway, this is just a forward feedback loop.

Whatever problems exist, this makes it worse, not better.

Anonymous said...

Many can promise, but not all of these can deliver. What is the basis for confidence here?

JS said...

I hope you don't waste any more digital ink on this program.

The real issue is why are these girls on dates with many tens of people or have heard names into the hundreds and still not able to find someone? That seems to be the real issue here.

aaron from L.A. said...

Why not allow Rabbenu Gershom's takana against polygamy to expire...That way,girls can get married more easily.Besides,many kollel boys are finding it very difficult to survive on just only one wife's salary.

Paragon of Virtue said...

Miami Al says "If there is an "age gap" problem, then there is no solution ... If there are simply more women than men that are looking to get married in a closed environment, there will simply be unmarried women"

Miami Al has clearly misunderstood the idea of the age gap problem. The idea is that as the community grows, older "grades" will always have fewer members than younger grades. So in a system wherein older boys exclusively date younger girls, there will never be enough boys for the girls. (The claim is NOT that there are more women than men...)

There clearly is a solution to this problem, simply that boys should date girls of the same age, or date with no age prejudice at all.

All of this makes sense. Now, whether the age gap problem is the main cause of the shidduch crisis is a different question. But if someone says that the age gap problem is unsolvable, that person must be either misinformed or deliberately attempting to besmirch the other...

Anonymous said...

Meir says
I would question the whole idea.
If one is selling 'meat' then one is entitled to try to sell what he earns the most on.
The girl here is only half the problem. There is also a boy. If for the boy a younger girl would be better, it is 'lifnei iver' to offer him an older girl just because one 'makes more money on her'. I challenge any rov to reply. No wonder no rov has taken this up.

Anonymous said...

Meir carries on
The gemoro says if your girl gets older then it was twelve and half release your canaanite servant.
In other words take anybody.
One reads today about girls wanting to be free. It is ok in the non-Jewish world where one can have pleasure and kids and still be single. In the Jewish world this is impossible. One cannot be free and happy. I dont think the age gap is the main cause of the problem. Its simply there are more boys going OTD and more girls being enlisted from MO homes in the BY schools and seminaries.

Anonymous said...

And on
We will soon be reading that Leah cried a lot. This helped her to get Yaakov. Girls today are taught that they are all entitled as long as they cry enough for the top bachur. First of all the top bachur is often arrogant and condescending and does not make the best husband. But leaving that aside, we cant compare to Leah. It is written that one of the reasons some are rich and some poor is because of shidduchim. And that even some become rich and some become poor because of that. I and I am sure many others have seen very rich people become poor and have to take afterwards poor shidduchim. It is the poor how have the crisis. They have to realise that may be one reason they are poor that their shidduch is not the 'best'.

rosie said...

Basically any person, regardless of religion, who really wants to get married, can and no one is preventing it. If a woman has really dated 100 men by age 29, then she has dated 10 men a year over a ten year period. To me, that does not spell a lack of choice due to lack of men. Something else is obviously standing in the way. I see all kinds of poor women, obese women, Black Jewish women, psychotic women, women from dysfunctional families, women who convert to Judaism, BTs, children of BTs, even women with illnesses and deformities, get married IF THEY REALLY WANT TO. Sometimes that means having to "settle" for something less than "top bocher".
Lack of men has nothing to do with the shidduch crisis.

psychobabbler said...

Rosie- it could be that the other families do not "want" them. It may not be a lack of men, but a lack of maturity within the male population who will not look past labels, exteriors, finances ect. There is no one cause for such psycho-social phenomena.

rosie said...

There usually are some men will will take these girls but they might not have the best circumstances either. A very overweight girl might get offers from similarly built men but does she want the risk of a man with high blood pressure and heart disease. He might be willing to give her a chance but is she willing to give him a chance? Some obese men want women who value food as much as they do. They don't want a skinny starving chick who won't go grocery shopping because food is fattening.

rosie said...

Just wanted to ad that I have married off sons and daughters and girls are often very picky. They often disqualify boys who haven't outgrown acne or are not tall enough or not outgoing enough. As soon as a girl says "no" to a suggestion, it only takes a few weeks and then the news comes in that someone else became engaged to the boy, so he must not have been that bad. BH, I no longer have unmarried daughters (the only unmarried child that I have is a 22yr old male), but they turned down loads of suggestions in their day. My boys also dated several girls before getting married and some that turned them down after a couple of dates are still single years later. They probably have a history of dating and saying "no".

Anonymous said...

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Mr. Cohen said...

If the age-gap is the true cause of the shidduch crisis, then why was the age-gap never mentioned as a problem by the 33 centuries of Jews who preceded us?

Why are we the first and only generation of Jews to identify the age-gap as the cause of the shidduch crisis?

rosie said...

Mr Cohen,
Young married women often died of childbirth or other conditions and unmarried women were not as adverse to marrying widowers as they are today.
The wicked stepmother of fairy-tale fame did not get her reputation from baking cookies.