Friday, May 17, 2013

Fear Mongering, Guilt-Tripping, and Shidduchim

I declare that my blog is back.  I have a lot I've wanted to write about and little time and inspiration, but I will thank LIBBI Lemaan Bnos Yisroel from providing that inspiration. . . and as a mother and an aunt of many bnot yisrael, I wish I could take your double page fear mongering advertisements that appear in major Jewish publications and make sure they never see the light of day again.

I can't think of anything more damning and damaging to young ladies and other young readers than the emotions and consequences that these ads surely have the potential to embed into young minds.  I simply can't figure out how these advertisements can be printed in publications that supposedly have Rabbinic input and it makes me very sad for our girls, our daughters, our nieces, our grandchildren (pick your' our').  And I really think that as parents we much rise up and say something.  We seem intent on banning everything we don't like.  How about these ads?  It is unbelievable that at the same time Jewish educators debate whether or not competition in sports, educational settings, etc, is appropriate for Jewish girls (and boys), that that we can be crushing those of shidduch age by publishing advertisements such as the one LIBBI is publishing.  And worse, I've yet to see a peer-reviewed published study of the "age gap" theory, and yet it is touted as the truth and there is a tremendous push to change how things operate based on this and Rabbis that I know as quite intelligent have lent their names to this fear mongering and it just a sad commentary.

The ad reads as following:

The above picture illustrates the sad truth of the current shidduch tradegy [picture of one girl with her head down looking sad and 9 brides]

1 out of every 10 girls may r"l never get married [bold large print]

Why?  The current trend is for boys to go to Bais Medrash for 3-4 years, then one year in Eretz Yisroel, and only start shidduchim after they get back.  Average starting age of shidduchim for boys is 23.

The girls generally start shidduchim at age 19.

Each year there is a 3-4% baby population increase.  Therefore, there are approximately 12% more girls than boys starting shidduchim every single year.  This causes the AGE-GAP problem.

Currently, there are every single year, approximately 2,200 Bais Yaakov girls entering shidduchim at age 19, and approximately 2,000 boys entering shidduchim at age 23, (let's call it entering Shidduch Island).

Even the most dedicated shadchanim cannot possibly find a match ofr 2,200 girls, if there are only 2,000 boys.  The tragic result is that 200 may r"l never get married (and remain on Shidduch Island)  This is the AGE_GAP problem and the Shidduch Crisis.

What about next year's boys?  Well, for the next year's 2,000 (+3%) boys starting shidduchim there is an additional 2,200 (+3%) girls starting, and the problem just continues on and on (leaving 200+ on Shiduch Island).

The AGE-GAP is the problem!  [Larger print]

Parents:  They key to solving the shidduch tragedy IS IN YOUR HANDS [bold and large print]

*The problem will iy:h be fixed if parents enable their bochurim to begin shidduchim when they are really ready to do so [snarky comment:  like when they have actually have a job and have put a few bucks in the bank to demonstrate that they might be on a trajectory to supporting a family?], as opposed to being delayed by the current systemic obstacles  [snarky comments:  oops, the powers that be want the boys to date earlier as in when they are (physically) "ready"].

*Every bochur who stays in a US Yeshiva after age 21, is taking part in saving 1,000 young women from staying single forever.

*On the other hand, every bochur that goes to eretz Yisroel after age 21, is perpetuating the cause of the shidduch tragedy in out community.  [Snarky comment:  you do something different than the norm and it (whatever it will be) is all your fault].

*If your son has reached age 21, have him stay in Yeshiva in the US.  That will allow him and you to listen to shidduchim when he, you and his Rebbeim deem appropriate.

*Do NOT send your son to Eretz Yisroel after age 21.  [Snarky comment:  at this point a person like me is wondering is this about Yeshiva enrollment and learning or is about a shidduch crisis].

*Encourage your friends to do the same with their bochurim.

*Your bochur cannot possibly begin to understand the pai of an unmarried daughter, but you do.  [Snarky comment:  there's a selling point for these young gents].

*The girl that is saved from becoming an agunah forever, may very well be your own daughter.  [Time to pull out the strong language and start calling the never married agunot.  Goodness gracious].

Some myths worth discrediting

Myth  There are more girls born each year than there are boys.
Truth  Statistically, slightly more boys are born each year than girls.

Myth  It is bashert for 10% of the girls to stay single.
Truth  ABSOLUTELY FALSE! (and cruel)
           This is a self inflicted wound because, the boys start shidduchim so much later than the girls.
           [And this type of fear mongering and guilt tripping isn't cruel?]

FACT:  Girls of Bnei Torah in Eretz Yisroel, in Europe, & Chasidim:  (where boys start shidduchim younger)
           -Do NOT have a Shidduch Crisis
           -All are in demand & All girls get married
            -Are treated like royalty, as is befitting Bnos Yisroel
            [Snarky comment: isn't it fun to believe in the Jewish Disneyland, isn't it?]

Myth  The bochurim are immature before age 23.  [I will save any comment here].
Truth  Your son will NOT begin dating UNTIL you and he feel he is ready.

Myth  My son needs the two year in ERETZ YISROEL to be a better husband
Truth  The extra time spent with little or no responsibility might do more harm than good to his ability to be a future caring husband and father.  [No snarky comment here.  I agree completely.  But I see no call to get these young gents into the workforce, just to change their location of learning].

Myth  My son may not be able to get a shidduch if he does not first go to Eretz Yisreol
Truth  Your son will be inundated with shidduchim as soon as he begins to listen to shidduchim [Snarky comment:  let's tell the girls they have no hope as 10% of them aren't getting married, but they boys, they are wanted, needed, and oh so wonderful].

Myth  The Gedolim have not approved bochurim getting married at such a young age.
Truth  Many Gedolei Eretz Yisroel and more than 50 Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbonim in the US have recently signed a letter urging boys to marry at a younger age.  [Snarky comment:  Daas Torah. .   so get on board quickly and get those boys dating at 19]!

There are over 2,500 single girls over the age of 25!  [Big print]  [And as a single you will forever be a "girl" but now we can call you an aguna too]

Project of LIBBI (if you write a letter, please print it in the comments)


SJ said...

One reason why I will never be orthodox is I cannot imagine giving a rabbi power over who I end up with. This practically gives rabbis near-absolute power where they can make or break a relationship based on if you follow them personally or not.

I will say this though, cardio and strength training is good for everyone male and female.

miriamp said...

Well, we all know that 1. Shidduchim is simply a numbers game (no actual compatibility needed) and 2. Shidduchim are only valid the first year you are "in the parsha" so every 19 year girl gets matched with a 23 yr old boy and no other boy or girl could possibly be a match!

If it were just about the math, there would be no crisis, real or imagined.

Blah. not looking forward to playing the game at all. (16 yr old son, 14 yr old daughter, so I have a few years but not so many!)

tesyaa said...

Interesting how the concept of divorce doesn't seem to exist. Partly denial; partly recognition of the fact that a divorced young woman, even one with kids, has much higher status (and has much better prospects in the marriage market) than a never-married young woman.

Given this reality, it does make sense for people to try to marry their girls off as quickly as possible, recognizing that a divorcee is socially better off than a single girl. (Financially it's a far different story).

AztecQueen2000 said...

Why are we pairing off two kids with no marketable skills and expecting them to reproduce? Keep them both out of the parsha until they can support their kids, let them meet in college, and problems solved!

Shifra said...

Tesyaa, I don't understand your comments about divorced women being more desirable on the shidduch market, and I was hoping you would clarify: wouldn't a single guy prefer to date a single woman and not a divorced woman with kids?

Shifra said...

Also, Sephardi Lady, welcome back! Your blog has been missed!

mlevin said...

After WWII, throughout Europe females outnumbered males 4:1, and yet, I haven't read about the "shidduch" problem in the after the war years. (The was a "shidduch" problem in the south after the civil war.) On the other hand, men after the WWII knew they were high in demand and ended up mistreating their wives and then leaving them for other women.

End result: more divorce, more free sex, more lazy men.

If we continue to complain about the shidduch crisis we would end up with men simply divorcing their wives for "better" ones. I think that is the reason for a high divorce rate today.

tesyaa said...

Shifra - true, it sounds odd. This is something I read elsewhere, that an "older single" is at a disadvantage to a divorced woman. I don't think this applies to younger singles. But nowadays a woman who is 24 is already an "older single", no exaggeration.

Also, of course, no one is expecting their child to get divorced. But the way people rush to get their very young daughters married off, you'd think marriage, any marriage, is an end in itself. I think that it actually IS an end in itself.

Anonymous said...

Well, it depends on the guy, obviously.

Men that want many children of their own, not to have other family baggage, etc., will obviously not be interested in divorced women.

OTOH, a divorced woman with child is known to be fertile (this is a biological attraction, not cultural), plus if the guy doesn't want to support a large family, a wife coming with kids of her own (that are gone every other weekend) plus child support to cover them are likely to be attractive to them. They may want a child or two, but supporting two children is VERY different than supporting 5, and a wife that already has children means you're not going to have to support as many.

The whole thing is rather sad, it would be funny if we weren't talking about taking wrecking balls to people's lives when the world is still relatively wide open to them.

Zach Kessin said...

Solution: Allow Polygamy!

Its perfect it will absorb the extra "girls" at an even younger age and with 3 wives they can split up the house work and each of them can earn money.

(yes I'm kidding, though sometimes I can't tell anymore)

Pragmatician said...

Glad the blog is back, missed it!

rosie said...

I hate to say it but there have always been those who never married. In some cases, they had to take care of elderly relatives or orphaned nieces and nephews. Possibly extreme poverty kept some women from marrying and they worked as live-in maids. During times when Jews were polygamous, it was the solution to a scarcity of men. Women preferred being concubines to being single. Wealthy men could afford multiple wives while women who did not want to share a husband could marry someone who struggled financially.
I doubt that anyone will change their plans to accommodate the shidduch crisis. Most people figure that someone else will be the korbon the same way that they won't make the wedding in the back yard and use the money saved to pay college tuition for the young couple. No one wants to be the first one to do something practical.

Reality check said...

"...Chasidim: (where boys start shidduchim younger)....Do NOT have a Shidduch Crisis"


They also have shidduch problems. That is not to say that they are of the exact same nature as other communities, but if you would know them better, live among them, understand Yiddish, speak to them, or read printed matter from them on the matter, you would see that they have problems as well.

If, however, you are the type that believes that all Chasidim have halos permanently around their heads from birth, live on the other side where the grass is greener, live far away from them, and don't understand Yiddish, you can feel free to delude yourself that Chasidim have no problems in that area.

Anonymous said...

If numbers was the simple answer to the shidduch crisis then all single boys would be married. The last time I checked there are plenty of boys in their 30's and 40's. Not to mention the ones in their 50's and 60's who want to marry women in their 30's because they want to have children. That is a blog unto itself.

In my opinion, the shidduch crisis is a combination of unrealistic expectations, too much choice in the marketplace which lends itself to the attitude of maybe the next one will be better than the perfectly good prospect in front of me.

More important than the 'why' singles aren't married is the 'what' are we doing to help our singles be most prepared to make a healthy choice and to be in a healthy place to make that choice as well as helping them to network and to meet like minded shidduch prospects.

Critiquer said...

The Gemara in Sota says, Shmuel taught that 40 days before a fetus is formed, a Bas Kol (voice from Heaven) announces whose daughter is for him to marry!

As far as I know, the Bas Kol did not stop making announcements and every "bas ploni" is matched up with a "ploni." Every girl has a boy to marry.

Michaltastik said...

I think the key to the problem is making it an onus on women that they HAVE to get married. I used to want to get married, but after being set up with so many crappy men, I have said that I will step aside. There's supposed to be a shortage of men and too many women. Well here you go, I am taking myself out of the equation.. but it's just not good enough for those dawgone Jews in Queens. Everyone wants to bend over backwards for the men. So everyone is trying to set me up with men in their 50s and giving me garbage lines like, "but he looks younger!" Well, so do I, so that's a wash!

If men want to have kids, they need to marry when they are of child bearing age and marry a woman close to their own age. I'm sick to death of people trying to set me up with older men. I actually lost 35 pounds and the whole neighborhood started ganging up on me and trying to bully me into dating... I gained the weight back just so I could be left alone. I would marry, if a guy was worth it. However, that's the real problem is that the women aren't raising their men to be men worth marrying. If I had a dollar for every married woman who told me she wishes she stayed single, I'd be rich.

Why would women be happy with married life in the Jewish world? The woman works full time, comes home and feeds and bathes 4 or 5 kids. After they go to bed, she comes down and does the dishes. She does all the helping with the homework. If she has a nanny, that woman might do the laundry, or she does that, too. Women are up from 6am to 2am the next night. Their husbands call them lazy if they try to take a nap on Shabbos. This isn't factoring women whose husbands rape and beat them. Yeah, no thanks, I'll stay single. I'd be a single parent before getting married. At least then I don't have to take care of a husband, too, because make no mistake, they are like yet another child for their wives. They get in the way. They are an extra mouth to feed. They contribute NOTHING.

Anonymous said...

Michal (or Nicole):

Sorry you had such a bad experience dating. Don't give up hope - there still ARE wonderful men around who will help with the children (and the laundry too).

Good luck with your gluten-free business!

LeahGG said...

SJ: My husband had a bad experience in the shidduch scene. We (both Orthodox) met via a friend of his (who I met on a dating site). Don't think that Orthodox means under the thumb of a rabbi.
Michal: There are plenty of good guys out there. You might be dating in the wrong circles. There are some wonderful men out there. I married one.

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