Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Shidduch Hysteria

I have already posted some thoughts on the very popular age gap theory [Age Gap or Faulty Math?]. I'm still not sold despite commentors trying to explain its validity and even a friend walking me through the theory. At the Agudah convention, there was a showing of an official Age Gap video which can be seen on

I don't intend to revisit the "math," but let's just say that when a major social change is being proposed, it would be worthwhile to present more information than a study showing that 14% of Bais Yaakov graduates ages 25-29 from 20 well-known schools remain single. What, are the men chopped liver? I'd like to know where all of the men have gone. I guess they all married younger women. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Now, back to the subject at hand. The goal of the video is to show that if the "age gap" is removed that everyone will live happily ever after. But I personally think the video does nothing more than create hysteria. And that is the last thing that the Orthodox dating population needs.

No matter what background you come from, religious or non-religious, Jewish or non-Jewish, younger or older, if you are a marriage-minded individual, especially a female marriage-minded individual, you probably have experienced your own, often self-induced, feelings of hysteria regarding dating and marriage.

For yours truly, these self-inflicted feelings of inadequacy, worry, and general lack of emunah started midway through high school! By the time I had planted my feet in the world of shidduchim, I can say that I was quite a wreck, convinced I would never marry. At that time (and it wasn't that long ago), I don't recall hearing about vast numbers of women who would be left out in the cold to live out there days as a maiden. But, I was very aware of all of the numerous things that would render a single second-class or even third-class. And, of course, there were the "dating rules" that you were expected to follow, many of which rendered a young lady petrified on a 3rd date when you were supposed to reveal your soul, or at least give a public accounting of any skeletons in your closet that might render you flawed. Because, as everyone knows, if you make it beyond 3 dates, you are "serious" and well-meaning people now have the permission to ask "nu?"

Whatever worries I had of never meeting that someone when I was 21 and unattached when heading out into the real world were compounded exponentially in the brutally honest shidduch world. Thankfully, a serious of really terrible dating experiences which made me feel like throwing in the towel completely, lead me to relax and simply not care so much about getting married. Not long after that, I did meet that someone.

While I certainly believe there are far too many singles that need to be brought down to earth, trim down their laundry list of requirements, take more action in terms of shidduchim and pound the pavement, I really think that we also need to be helping singles out by giving them an ego boost. So much of a single's life and spirit can be sucked out of them as they worry endlessly about what might be and I think that can translate into bad mazal. We are believers in a personal G-d and we believe that Hashem continues to work as a shadchan day in and day out. I'm sure that most married folks have a great story of how Hashem moved the chess pieces to make their shidduch happen. It would be nice if singles were given the message that Hashem has a match for them even if their yichus is flawed, even if they have a few extra pounds, even if their hair is frizzy, and even if their parents aren't marching to the Goldberg's drummer.

Video presentations that place X marks through female figures with the message YOU WON'T GET MARRIED unless there is major social re engineering (social engineering that would have made my our own shadchanit think twice about setting us up since she is a rules follower), strikes me as cruel, and I'm not exactly the type to ignore issues. The video awakened some emotions I left behind at the chuppah. I can only imagine the arrow it sent through already torn hearts.

I do think some social rewinding is in order. I don't think we need any more hysteria! There is enough hysteria out there already and an entire army of teachers, mentors, Rabbis, friends, parents, and other singles feeding into the hysteria. Let's try to give our not-yet-married single friends (both male and female) some room to breathe and some positive encouragement. And let's also remember that a healthy marriage and a bayit ne'eman is the goal of all of this dating.


Leah Goodman said...

You're absolutely right. I was 27, with more than a few extra pounds when I met my husband, who is the nicest, sweetest guy on Earth. I was lucky, because even though he's Yeshivish (although he does work), he was willing to be introduced by a friend and not just a 'proper' shidduch. His friend was someone I went out on a date with who decided I would do better with Yaakov. I guess (3.5 years and 2 kids in) that his friend might have been onto something.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I didn't read all the comments on the Matzav item (I'm not a masochist), but I'll quote this one from "midwesterner", which is fairly well written but which I totally disagree with. I think it may be of interest to your readers. (PS I'm not convinced of the Age Gap theory either; while the population may be growing over time, it's not nearly at the rate they show in the simplistic illustration).

"I know of a well recognized adam gadol in the Litvishe velt who believes that it is best for Bais Yaakov girls to get married as soon as possible after returning from their year in seminary. They are on a spiritual high at that point, having just spent an intense year in our holy land around holy people. The longer they drey around in America, whether it is working or schooling, their madreiga in ruchniyos goes down. He feels that it is most important to establish a home when at a peak in ruchniyos.... I know many will disagree with this, saying that it is not practical to get married without accumulating a nest egg, or a degree and the means to accumulate the same. But this man has been a widely known and respected rosh yeshiva for several decades, and his wife and several of his daughters are well known people in the world of chinuch habanos."

This is a problem in our community, that someone may say something that people accept because he is a "widely known and well respected rosh yeshiva". People accept what flies in the face of common sense! When I became religious almost 30 years ago no one told me I had to check my brain at the door.

Anonymous said...

Amen! Excellent post.

ProfK said...

Like you SL, I'm not buying into the math as presented. And the study is one-sided. What are the figures for the 20 equivalent boys yeshivas across North America? Did the girls' study tally only those who have never been married or does it include those who are divorced and not married at present?

I don't think throwing numbers at shidduchim is the answer. Nor, as the video suggests, is taking boys "out of the freezer" on a different schedule the answer either. Out of the freezer?! Instead of playing with numbers perhaps we need to be adjusting attitudes and the truly ludicrous requirements for how shidduchim "have" to be made.

For the past few decades yeshivish klal has tried social engineering to get its young people married. It didn't work out the way they wanted so what is their answer? More social engineering. Want to bet that in a few years down the road there's going to be another video showing even worse figures? And "the powers that be" still won't get that they are part of the problem. said...

While I don't agree with the "age gap" solution, I do think it's a matter of math. There are simply more single religious women than single religious men.

The solution is obvious. Bring back polygamy!

Rabbeinu Gershom must have had ruach hakodesh, he put a time limit on his decree, and time is up.

If every guy in kollel had two wives, one could work, one could run the household, he could learn all day and have some - ahem - variety at night.

Yes, I am serious. I am seriously convinced that bringing back polygamy is more likely than getting the black hatters to drop their nareshkeit when it comes to shidduchim.

Ariella's blog said...

The math never made sense to me, but then I'm not a math person. But you are a numbers person, SL, so if you also find it questionable, it is not due to my own innumeracy.
It seems to be almost a status symbol for girls to be engaged and married by 19, not just for the girls but for their parents. They get to be viewed like houses put up to market. When it is new to market, there is more interest. But already after a few months, people start to think that there must be something wrong with the house, or else it would have sold already. So a girl who "made it" right away must be viewed as superior.
I'm not saying I believe this, but, as in stock market values, perception is everything.

Ariella's blog said...

Tesyaa made an important observation. I would like to say about this that my great-aunt, a"h was a real tzadekes who lived in Yerushalayim and devoted her life to chessed. But she was also a very intelligent woman. I recall her commenting on a cousin who already had her first child by 19 (possibly even 18) that it may be better not to immediately enter into the kitchen. I believe she meant simply in terms of being able to actually mature somewhat before taking on marriage and family.

G*3 said...

The problem is bigger than a faulty shidduch system. The real problem is the social demand that EVERYONE must get married. Not only must everyone get married, but they must do so within a narrow age limit, or it’s a terrible tragedy. Is it so surprising that 19 and 20 year olds, many of whom have never even had a conversation with a member of the opposite sex, have unrealistic expectations? The average age of marriage is rising in the general population, and it might be time for frum society to acknowledge that not getting married in your low twenties is not a tragedy.

That said, there might actually be a number problem, for reasons that the frum world wouldn’t want to acknowledge. I saw an article recently which said that in American society there are more single women looking for men than single men looking for women because a higher percentage of men than women are gay. I see no reason to think the percentages are different in frum society.

There also seems to be a tendency for boys to leave the frum world at a higher rate than girls. I could speculate as to why that is, but the reasons aren’t important. The point is that it leaves fewer single frum guys looking to get married than frum girls.

Anonymous said...

In many sectors of society 14% of 25 year olds not married is far from a crisis. Its only a crisis for those who fall in this group if they are made to feel like they've missed the boat or are defective or otherwise are unhappy about being single. Not everyone can or should be married by 22.

Anonymous said...

G*3 - If you are right about more males leaving the frum community, is part of the solution for these young women to start looking outside their particular communities and be given opportunities to meet a broader range of men? While that would not result in a compatable/happy marriage for some, it might for others.

Orthonomics said...

Ariella-In the previous post, I asked if rates of attrition vary between men and women and if more women move to the right than men? I also wondered if women want to marry more than men, leaving another gap.

I can be convinced that there are more Orthodox adult single women than men. I'm a long way off of being convinced that making sure couples are closer together in age is the answer.

Additionally, I'm afraid that greater social engineering (and as ProfK pointed out, there has been plenty of social engineering already) will result in new and unforseen, but perhaps predictable consequences. We already are painfully aware that there are a good number of quick marriages. I can think of a number of them and I don't even know that many people.

You also make an interesting point about perception in the housing market. This is so true. In fact one of the first questions often asked about "older" singles is "why isn't he/she married yet?" At 40 or 50 the question is understandable. My own parents warned me that an unmarried guy over 30 is problematic (in their day they married late and weren't yet 30). But at 24 or 25 years old???? That is just cruel. Chazal tell us that at 20 a man becomes accountable in the heavenly beit din. Studies of the brain show that the brain continues to grow and develop until 24 years old, which matches educational observations made in the 1800's. Perhaps at 24 a young man or young women is just reaching the point where their brain is functioning enough to get married. Certainly this was the case with me! At that age, I think I was finally able to screw my head on straight, put some of the emotion of the whole process on the backseat, and function with a fully functioning brain. I simply wasn't ready at 19 (although I thought I was!).

tesyaa-Agreed. And I too refuse to check my brain at the door.

Regarding the polygamy comment: I believe there is a website somewhere out there which promotes the polygamy solution.

Unknown said...

Social experimentation is best done on a small scale, oriented toward the particular place where it's tried. If the idea works, its implementation can be expanded to like situations elsewhere. If it doesn't work, at least the damage is limited. While there are times when the scope of an emergency makes a global approach the only choice, has this been demonstrated in this case? If so, has this particular global solution been shown to be the most likely to work in practice? It's not even clear how its degree of application and success (or lack of it) will be monitored during the experiment.

gavra@work said...

I think the bigger problem is not the "gap", but that the "older" girls are not even being looked at/suggested for boys younger than themselves (in the "yeshivish" circles). Couple that with the refusal to date outside the shidduch system, and you have many girls that will not get married.

And yes, there are many more girls that want someone more "right" than there are "right" boys, but if not for my first point, attrition would get almost all of them married eventually.

The obvious solution would be to allow girls & boys to meet without a shaddchan (and they might like each other, even though the girl is older), but that is way too radical (and the boys are in no way prepared to do so).

Larry Lennhoff said...

As a BT who married before becoming frum, I have an outsider's perspective. I think having more opportunities for men and woment to interact outside of a shidduch context would be tremendously helpful. Let's go back to mixed seating at the receptions for simchas. Let's have more mixed learning. The more people see each other, the better the chance of forming a connection.

Avi Greengart said...

I'm willing to accept the math. I'm not willing to accept that an 86% success rate = crisis unless you label it one.

JS said...

First off, whoever made that video should be shot. The first words are "The tragedy"! It has this ominous, brooding music more suited to a Holocaust documentary. It treats women as being valueless if unmarried. It takes it for granted that all men get married and, as a corollary, that men get their pick of the women. It uses the word "tragic" to describe women over the age of 24 who are unmarried.

On top of all that (and as if that wasn't bad enough) it treats men and women like caged animals in some sick breeding program in which the scientists (rabbis, shadchans) control mating.

Furthermore, I can't believe money is being wasted on producing this video, having some conference, and studying this issue in a recession when real tzedakahs and yeshivas are hurting.

I am a math person and on top of that a science person and this "age gap" theory is complete nonsense. And to display the "problem" with that horrific illustration of two 23 year olds, three 22 year olds, to six 19 year olds as if there is a large different year to year with the number of singles is just misleading. For one thing, you can't even begin to study this "problem" without knowing how many single guys there are. I also find it kinda sickening that beis yaakov's would actually keep data on which of their students are single vs married (assuming this data was actually available, though the video claimed it was). You would also need to study WHY people are single. Maybe they don't want to get married yet, maybe they feel they're too young, maybe they want a break after a relationship went sour, maybe they're busy with other things in their life. The "study" assumes all these women want nothing more than to get married and that the women too feel their singlehood is a tragedy.

Also, even assuming the number in each age group goes up every year, just because boys date 2 years below their age (highly debatable) doesn't somehow translate into "older" girls somehow being left out. You can't just slide the boy group down 2 years as they do in the video and suddenly make 11 women permanently single. It's idiotic.

Another problem with the video and with people in general is the video statement that 70 Roshei Yeshiva signed some declaration that the problem is age gap - as if this somehow makes it true. Last I checked these roshei yeshiva aren't sociologists and haven't really studied anything. Also, seems of late a "gadol" will pretty much sign whatever piece of paper is put in front of him. I just love how "Such and such rabbi said X, therefore X is true."

I would suggest all these single women go over to the MO world where 24-29 isn't "tragic" and where you can develop a sense of self-worth outside of whether or not you have a husband.

I suppose my 24 year old sister who is single and in medical school is a real tragedy. Unbelievable.

Dave said...

Look at the additional stakes that are piled on.

In the secular world, a 24 year old single woman, gainfully employed and self-supporting, is treated as an adult.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it is my understanding that in much of the frum veldt, that this woman would not be treated as an adult, but a 19 year old woman with a ring on her finger (even if she and her husband are entirely supported by her parents) would be.

Tamar said...

Right on, Dave. Note how the video labeled the 24-29 yr olds as "girls." You're only considered a "woman" or a "lady" if you're married.

I feel so tremendously distant from this segment of orthodox Judaism. It's like I'm in some anthropology class studying a foreign culture (and I GREW UP in the Bais Yaakov world).

gavra@work said...

JS said...

"It treats women as being valueless if unmarried."

That is essentially correct in the yeshivish/charaidi world (with the exceptions countable on one hand).

rosie said...

While the ratio of single men to single women could be a factor in the difficulties that people have today in finding a shidduch, it is just one of many factors.
To me, men should be open minded about marrying women their age or older because if they are marrying young to begin with, at least their wife will be an adult.

Miami Al said...

The "appeals to authority" method of justification is downright terrifying.

A key distinction, something is NOT true "because Chazal/Godol/anyone said it," the REASON that "Chazal/Godol said it" is because it's true.

In fact, if a Gadol is saying things are so, and it turns out to not be true, one should rethink their status as a Gadol, rather than redefine reality to meet their musings.

"Daas Toirah" should be sufficiently "de-bunked," our Torah Scholars have given the society significantly bad advice in non-Torah areas...

This leads to two possible conclusions, Conclusion 1, "Daas Toirah" is an incorrect concept and should not be relied upon. Conclusion 2, "Daat Torah" is a true concept, but our current (and recent) leadership are false scholars, since if they were real scholars, there non-Torah advice would be correct under the guise of Daat Torah.

So relying on their "wisdom/prophecy" when shown to be false requires either tossing out the concept of Torah leading to non-Torah advice, or tossing out their Torah, since if their Torah was valid, their non-Torah advice would be valid to.

Though I think "Daat Torah" is nonsense, I'd kind of rather keep the concept if it meant we could disregard the Semicha and the Poskim of this group leading the people off the cliff... basically keep Daat Torah, but if you're wrong, we're done with you... kind of like a Bet Din with a lot of capital rulings...

Larry Lennhoff said...

Miami Al

Sounds like how the Chinese emperor always ruled because he had the mandate of heaven. If someone overthrew him, that was proof he had lost the mandate.

megapixel said...

excellent post, I agree with so much of what you say.

I think bringing it all down to math numbers and age gap configurations really disregards something that we have always believed in i.e. 'bashertness'. suppose I am pushed into dating guys within two years of my age , i would never have met my husband who is 4 1/2 years older than me, and that would be just as much of a shidduch crisis!!

my view of the problems:
~singles with too many expectations and demands
~the ludicrous notion that a 19 year old girl is superior to a 23 year old. (and i got married at 19)
~the high expectations for the boys- to be a "good boy" is really a pretty tough thing. Easier to be a good girl. Thus the discrepancy.
~the BY system works better than the yeshiva system, thus more girls looking for that yeshivish
icon of a good boy, than there exist that iconic example of perfection in manliness.

I think that the goal of this type of publicity should be The attitude change--put it into the heads of people that a girl older than 21 or closer in age is perfectly okay so people would be more open to considering these girls. Alarming singles will lead people to make unwise decisions which will lead to the next great crisis. THE DIVORCE crisis. and the CHILDREN FROM BROKEN HOMES crisis.

megapixel said...

"It treats women as being valueless if unmarried."
not valueless, but definitely, an object of pity.

the day I agree to polygamy is the day it becomes okay for a woman to have more than one husband as well.
I would rather stay single all my life than share a husband. what a disgusting thought.

Anonymous said...

While its straight-up in the torah thats its better for a person to be married, I cringe every time i hear of a girl who has "been dating since 19". I remember when i was 19, i sure wasnt ready to get married then. When i was 22, i thought i was mature enough to be ready for marriage. When i actually started dating at 24, i realized that i hadnt been ready earlier. While many agree that girls mature faster than boys, there is no "crisis" if you have 24 or 25 year old women who are unmarried. Its a shame that they have not yet met their bashert, but that does not make them an object of pity. While its advantageous for a couple to get married when they are at a spiritual high, if the marriage will have many problems (or chalilah, not last) due to the lack of maturity and experience that comes with age, it seems much better to promote keeping them infused with that spiritual high during their single years of college, grad school and work, so when theyre finally ready to go out and meet their bashert, they are significantly more mature and much more sensitive to the preciousness of keeping a daily learning seder. Why should it only be on the men to be 'koveah ittim', when clearly the women can benefit tremendously from being 'koveah' on themselves. Seminaries and Beis Yaakov's don't exist just to educate them UNTIL marriage - its a starting point, to train them to seek out learning and spiritual growth, even while in grad school, med school, whatever. Shadchanim should recommend to their charges that boys appreciate a girls chashivus of torah nearly as much as vice versa. Single girls (in their early or mid twenties) who make for themselves a daily or weekly seder of learning, especially of mussar seforim written for women, can find themselves in much more eligible situations, simply by the way it changes their attitudes and behavior when it comes to shidduchim. I dont believe for a second that the number of singles (under 30) is significantly more disproportionate in favor of the men; its more likely that data on single men is more sparse, thereby skewing the bell curve somewhat. And one thing that i never tolerated was "shtick". While there are some rules necessary to maintaining proper decorum through ones dating cycles, there are quite a few more which have done nothing but exacerbate the problem.

@Megapixel: A man is permitted to have multiple wives l'halacha (except for the ban of Rabainu Gershom, which was designed to prevent travelers from settling in new communities and marrying locally, while keeping their first wife an aguna back in his hometown; tho it applies universally). There is a lot of debate, in various places of the torah on the wisdom of having multiple wives, all the while considering that while some occasions warranted it (yibum, for example), it may have been generally frowned upon. That said, there are many noted halachic authorities who state that while the time period of the ban has expired, the ban still remains because it has not been officially revoked or something like that. Either way, polygamy of any sort is not a very appetizing concept.

Anonymous said...

(for the record, i'm a guy who grew up in a modern orthodox community, went to yeshiva for high school, and learned full-time for 2.5 years before starting college. This gives me a somewhat unique perspective on some issues)

David said...

50.1% of live births are male. However, more boys than girls die in childhood. Thus, there are slightly more women than men in the adult world. This does mean that when the music stops there will be some women who do not have husbands, even if all of the men were perfect candidates and married someone age-appropriate.

Marriage is a good thing. But it's not the only good thing, and there does need to be a bit of acceptance and understanding that it will not be right for everyone.

Charlie Hall said...

"I know many will disagree with this, saying that it is not practical to get married without accumulating a nest egg, or a degree and the means to accumulate the same. "

Didn't Rambam say a man should have a job and a house before getting married?

"Let's go back to mixed seating at the receptions for simchas. Let's have more mixed learning. "

We have all that in my community but still have a lot of singles who aren't getting married.

"I would suggest all these single women go over to the MO world"

Or maybe not -- the MO world has its own shidduch crisis, despite the fact that there is no shortage of opportunities to meet persons of the opposite sex. I strongly suspect that the reasons for the MO shidduch crisis are quite different from the reasons for the yeshivish shidduch crisis. (Is it a crisis when it has been a problem for decades?)

Anonymous said...

re: polygamy

The thought of it doesn't disgust me in the least.

On the contrary, as a full-time working woman married to a full-time working guy I have always thought that it would ideal to have another woman around the house.

rosie said...

It is not just about numbers. Most single women who are considered older had at least one chance to marry someone but the passed it up. Some people have emotional barriers to marriage and some never had the mazal to meet someone that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with.

Anonymous said...

Rosie: We have no way of knowing that these women did have a chance to marry. I'll bet that many of them did not. More important, should someone marry someone they don't believe they are compatible with (or dislike or are turned off by) just for the sake of marriage? I certainly hope not.

rosie said...

While no one should marry someone that they don't want to be married to, that does not mean that lack of men caused these women to be single. They made a choice not to marry those men who came their way. I know of many older women who are presented with lots of names that they turn down and I also know of single women who met men who were interested in them but they turned them down. That is not an indication that there are too few men; it just means that there are too few for the type of selection that those women want.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Rosie, that numbers aren't the only reason for not being married. What is the percentage of single mesivta graduates aged 25-29 (or for argument's sake, 30-34)? My guess is that it is not insignificant, just that these "boys" (young men) are not seen as a crisis because it is assumed they will have further opportunity to marry.

Miami Al said...

In the US as a whole, the "spinster rate," to use an antiquated term (women that will never marry and have children) is approaching 40%. Social maintenance requires 2.1 births/woman. For the 60% to maintain that, childbearing women need to average 3.5 births/woman... France, realizing that convincing the childless to have children is pointless, is incentivizing those with children to have more, since it's easier to convince, with financial incentives, a woman with 2 kids to have 3, or a woman with 3 kids to have 4.

In the Chareidi/Yeshivish/Chassidic world World, 86% of women get married, with 6.72 children/woman. In the Orthodox World, it's probably around 75%-80% marrying (we don't have good numbers, so presume it's less), at 3.39 births/woman.

Both populations are growing nicely, and most women that want to get married are getting married.

We do NOT have a crisis. Now, for the women that want to get married and aren't, they have a personal crisis. Perhaps we need to do things to help them, since they are Jews in need. However, the system that works for 86% and produces offspring at 3 times the replacement level should NOT be scrapped because 14% are missing out.

If you aim to reach 100%, but your tweaks result in people not forming happy couples and you drop to 82% and increased the divorce rate, you made things worse.

Social engineering is either working or not destructive enough to matter, the Orthodox World is growing...

The communal bankruptcy seems to be more of a cliff we're running off with our institutions on the brink of collapse, the Shidduch world, as gross, mysogynistic, and disgusting as it is, is successfully marrying off 86% of right wing girls and producing 6.72 children/women, it's NOT the problem.

Inability to properly feed and educate those 6.72 children seems more of a concern than can we tweak the numbers and get to 6.95 or 7.1 children/woman.

rosie said...

Looking for a shidduch is like shopping for shoes. If you wear a really odd size and are very particular about color, heel height, toe shape, brand, etc, chances are the store won't have what you want. If you have an average foot and are open minded about color and style, chances are that you will buy shoes.

JS said...

What exactly is the MO shidduch crisis?

megapixel said...

charlie hall thanks for that comment, I have been wondering about that. alot of people have been suggesting more casual meetings of girls and boys, but of course that would be considered unacceptable in yeshivish circles.
but you say it doesnt work anyway as proven by the MO world.
by the way I have heard the chassidic "oilam" does not have a shidduch crisis. any ideas as to why?

Charlie Hall said...

"Social maintenance requires 2.1 births/woman."

Immigration -- mostly from Eastern Europe -- is making up for the below replacement fertility levels in Western Europe.

"What exactly is the MO shidduch crisis?"

Lots of singles who aren't getting married. It is particularly noticable in parts of Manhattan.

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tdr said...

There is a family in Baltimore that used to host co-ed seudat shlishit every week I think with the express purpose of providing a venue for men and women to meet casually. I met at least one married couple who had met at their table, but I heard about it from others.

Maybe we should start a movement to host co-ed 3rd meals on Shabbos. Call it something catchy, start a website to promote it. Or just start doing it!

Yes, there are some singles who wouldn't even go to someone's house for a meal if singles of the opposite sex were there, but I bet this type of venue would be considered quite non-threatening to most. And you could even have separate seating so people could meet at the same table, but could separate themselves as much as they wanted to.

JS said...

I haven't heard anyone in the MO world describe this as a "crisis" the way it's done in the more RW communities. Furthermore, MO's don't use shadchans or at least the rules and procedures are so incredibly different than the RW world as to hardly justify using the same word (shadchan) for each.

There may be pressure to marry, and to marry younger in the MO world, but no one is looking at the Upper West Side, for example, and saying there is some sort of crisis. A female friend of mine just got married at the "ripe old age" of 28 after pursuing a PhD. No one looked at her as some nebech unfortunate case before she was married.

It's just completely different, imo.

Charlie Hall said...


Actually, many MOs do us shadchanim and that may be part of the problem. Despite being in work, social, and religious environments in which intermingling of sexes is very common, they won't consider a date with anyone unless properly "set up". It creates a kind of hashkafic psychosis. No wonder so many aren't married yet.

Orthonomics said...

Many Modern Orthodox people do use a more modified shidduch system. Also, there is a spectrum of Orthodoxy and there are people that straddle different communities. Perhaps this is less common in the NY/NJ regions. But out-of-town, there are people who socialize in various groups and would be more open to meeting through various venues. Or at least this is my perception.

rosie said...

To Megapixel;
The chassidshe oilim does not have a shidduch crisis because they are very homogeneous. Among the Litvish and Chabad, there are a variety of types such as BT vs FFB families.

Anonymous said...

I'm a single in my early 30s with a Bais Yaakov background. In my opinion, the problem is that there are a lot of very normal girls (I've met some of my greatest female friends at singles events) and not as many normal guys. Another issue is that people will not tell you anything negative about a guy you are checking out. They are all the greatest and so nice. After going out once, you find out all these things that are major red flags--and if you ask those same references about those, they always knew them but left them off the description in case you wouldn't find out, making you waste another evening and emotional effort.

There also needs to be more intermingling between singles. It is so hard to get to know someone in the contrived nature of a shidduch date. It is so stifled, and everyone is on his or her best behavior.

And as for this video, I find it majorly offensive. It is so good to know that my life is a tragedy.

Critiquer said...

I like what you say about down with the hysteria and up with the chizuk.

How come we aren't hearing of a "shidduch crisis" in the Israeli yeshiva world? Why don't the statistics apply to them?

Orthonomics said...

Thank you critiquer.