Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism

Orthodox and Unattached

When I was 25 and I decided to become an Orthodox Jew, people whispered to me that I might be “too old” to ever find a nice Jewish husband. Now, at 29, surrounded by single Orthodox Jewish friends of the same age and married Orthodox friends with broods of two or three kids, I also find myself in a weird position. But my single friends stress to me, “At least you’re married.” 
A clip from “Unattached” below and “Hard to Match” looks at the so-called “Shidduch Crisis” or “Singles Crisis” in the Orthodox Jewish community.

19 thoughts on “Orthodox and Unattached

  1. Well, for one, the UWS is not the place to live if you want to get married. Everyone knows that.

    I like when the woman admitted the men are not so good.

    I think, though, a big part of the problem is that matchmakers think like their own gender. Female shadchans look at things that women think make a woman great. Men, however, don't care about her yichus. They marry girls who are size 2 and such.


  2. WOW! I'm a conservative Jew so this is not as prevalent in my community but I do see traces of it as many people in my shul were former orthodox Jews. Some of the traditions are kept and they become what is called by many as “conservodox.” They are very into wanting to see everyone married and keeping it within the Jewish community and not big on intermarriage. These are usually the people who want to play matchmaker for me. Gets kind of annoying but I know it's because they want to see me happy.

    I do not think I would be happy in the day to day setting depicted in the video. The guy remarked that the women were ugly but the women younger women featured in the video were attractive. I don't know what he's talking about.

    I think people will go were they are happy. That means that they will experiment, date outside of Judaism and so on if they are single and unhappy with where they are. I don't think it's bad, it's a process. And some will leave and others will return. It's life. not the way some people in the video want it, but it happens.


  3. A writer named Elisha Ferber recently penned an Op-Ed on titled “It’s Tu B’Av – Put the Girls in the Freezer

    Writing to an ultra-Orthodox readership, he states – “The solution? Put the girls in a “freezer” until the age of 20. Very simply, girls would not begin to go out on dates until they turn 20-years-old. Yes, this may sound laughable at first, but think about it…”

    I'm interested in hearing comments from readers on this writer's use of such an analogy.

    Joel Katz
    Religion and State in Israel
    @religion_state on Twitter


  4. Joel, I've met very cute couples, including family and friends, who got married before 20. I don't think they would have liked being “put in the freezer.” I also think that to “put the girls in the freezer” somehow seems to point to the idea that the girls are somehow the problem in this “shidduch crisis.”


  5. The problem with how great this country is and even more NYC is that life can be good and there are plenty of options. Shidduch is much easier in repressive societies where the Jewish population feared for their lives and marriage and family was essential, plus the luxury of a cool single life was not even thought of, especially when surrounded by bloodthirsty peasants always out to persecute the different.

    The Upper West Side is a great area in many respects. It is convenient and filled with wonders, but way out of my budget.

    Ricardo> Intermarriage is a concern, but I know of an Orthodox rabbi in a conservadox shul in Bayside who does conversions.

    If the other partner doesn't want to be Jewish, then Houston we have a problem.

    I couldn't conceive of getting married at 18 or even 22, but it's the background I was raised in, yet there are couples who marry at 18 and have Masters degrees by 30.

    I am ultimately concerned about compatibility. I don't know if true love is even possible for me.

    It is funny that since I moved to NYC, I've been told by more than a few people that I'm not getting any younger, while only a handful of people in Ft Hood criticized me for not bothering with dating. Most found me smart, plus with an 80% divorce rate, I'd never have gotten married in the Army.


  6. I hate that everyone in calling this a “crisis”. There is no “crisis”, not unless you think that your fellow Jews' lives are worthless if they are, G-d forbid, still single at age 26.

    Oh wait…

    I think therein lies the problem: it's in the eye of the beholder. I think #1: Tova Mirvis makes a good point in her “Hard to Match” article that people are ridiculously picky – if they see themselves as “Modern-Orthoprax-Machmir-Carlbachian”, then they must find someone who is exactly the same. This points to the fact that many Orthodox singles have a very childish, immature view of what marriage actually is. #2: I truly, honestly think that we all need to just chill out if someone is in their late 20s and still single. Singlehood isn't a tragedy of epic proportions. By taking this view, we are turning a “reality” or “situation” into a “crisis.” Can't we focus on more important problems, such as the increasing fragmentation of the Orthodox community, the affordability of day schools, or the way that we as a community treat converts? I can't abide nourishkeit, but that's exactly what this whole “shidduch crisis” attitude is: absolute and utter nourishkeit.


  7. Maybe the way I'm viewing the crisis is too simplistic, but this is what I've seen over and over and over: Jewish singles are WAY too caught up in physical looks. The chemistry this is OVER-rated! I know what I'm talking about. In past generations, men and women were more mature and realized this. People day, esp. the guys, are expecting to marry a model.
    Their expectations are simply ridiculous. That is the major issue I've seen as an amature shadchan and as a former dater myself.


  8. I dont think we guys want a model but a girl who's smart, compassionate and kind. I think girls are way too picky. Hence, there's a S crisis. My friend tried to hook up another friend of ours with one of our classmates and he failed at his attempt. He described the girls as animals because some of them would not even talk to him. We all need love to survive or at least be happy in this world. Loneliness is not wanted or desired. I dated this girl once, she was not drop dead gorgeous but I loved her personality and we were attracted to each other. I was beginning to love her actually. But she had too many issues and she once said that she was dating another guy while she was dating me. SHe was very insecure and did not know what she wanted. I really liked this girl, but her immaturity destroyed our relationship. Although I am a professional who makes a lot of money, she wanted to marry a doctor or lawyer since we both have the same career. She said that people can't have the same career and a happy marriage. You see girls can be complicated and are never happy with anything. They are so hard to figure out. Maybe I will find my bashert one day and marry her. I'm still hopeful.


  9. Thomas the intermarriage thing does cause some problems for sure. I hear things through the grapevine and the kids always get caught in the crossfire. So that's yet another strain on the marriage. My rabbi won't do interfaith marriages but he will offer to convert. He's very aware of the problems down the road because he's seen it a thousand times.

    I also can't imagine marrying that young. 18 to 24? Please, My life didn't start making sense until my 30s and I love being single. I guess I'd be the target of ridicule if I was living in this part of the city.

    I tend to agree with those who say this really isn't a crisis. As people live longer lives the need to do everything yesterday is not as urgent. Relax, enjoy life. That's my advice to those who think the sky is falling but it's really not.


  10. Ricardo there's a S crisis period. Women need to get married and have children before they're 40 and I dont need to explain why. Life without a partner does not make sense since by nature we were created to share our lives with others. People who enjoy the single life are usually afraid of commitment since marriage is a big responsibility. I am glad that you're truly enjoying the single life but most Jews who hold to traditional views will not agree with your point of view. In case you did not know since you are not an Orthodox Jew, Jews regard the family as the building blocks of society. Most rituals are performed at home. The Jewish Sabbath, for instance, is the main practice in which the Jewish family is based upon and it can be properly observed by a family and not by a single person.


  11. Anonymous I'm aware of the rules of Orthodox Judaism and understand the tings you lay out here. But the more you hammer the crisis message into younger people I suspect the more they will get turned off by the urgency. Lots of people don't want to get married and have kids under pressure from others they want to do it their way, it's the way some people are. By the way, here's a long way to go from 24 to 40 so I would yell crisis at 38 or something.

    “People who enjoy the single life are usually afraid of commitment since marriage is a big responsibility”



  12. There is a crisis and it's alive and kicking. In my personal experiences, the problem has been primarily with the men who, even in the Jewish community, are not serious about finding a committed relationship leading to marriage. Increasingly, the Jewish community on the West Side is becoming very like the general culture of NYC. The men want sex, period, while the women are looking for love. Granted, I have heard my share of horror stories about women who will only date men who make loads of money, so its not totally one- sided. However, I think men and women are going into the dating process with very different ideas of what they want.

    Aliza,I have wondered the very things that your friends vocalized. I'm 24, have already gone through a Conservative conversion, and am now considering an Orthodox one, but I wonder if there will be a good guy left waiting for me on the other side.


  13. The question is, why do men and women have such disparate expectations? They're being raised in the same households and going to the same school systems (even if the facilities are segregated by sex), so wherefore the difference?


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