Sunday, June 04, 2023

In your November 9 issue, there was a letter to the editor by a single woman who begged the community—every person, not just rabbis and shadchanim—to help single people meet their bashert, to help them get married (“On Parshat Chayei Sarah, Think of Shidduchim”).

The tragedy of lonely, single people in the Orthodox community is sad and monumental. I remember years ago receiving a phone call from a shadchan who asked me if my friend, a bachelor she was investigating, wore a black hat daily or only on Shabbat, if he had two tablecloths on the Shabbos table or only one, and who his rav was. All my expressions that he was a sincere God-fearing Jew, deeply religious, that he had the finest midot, that he was very smart and good, seemed to have no effect on her. She only cared about the externals!

Which brings me to the dating column. In the same issue, Jennifer Mann, a licensed social worker and dating coach, wrote a column titled, “Two Hashkafot, One Relationship: Can a Compromise Be Reached?” She wrote about a 28-year-old single woman who comes from a more right-wing yeshivish background who has been dating a wonderful, professional man with great middot who is a Young Israel type. She is afraid their different hashkafot, or religious perspectives, are not compatible.

I was dumbfounded. At the age of 28, with thousands of single, older women and a scarcity of decent, mature, eligible bachelors in the Orthodox community, that she would express misgivings, and Ms. Mann would support those misgivings. Does it really matter that he had a university education, may be a Zionist or wears a black hat? Is this woman so intransigent in her observance that she is unable to compromise and accept a deeply religious man who may be more modern than she? Why is Ms. Mann recommending to take it slowly and go to couples counseling? Are the Orthodox so irreconcilably divided that good people from different backgrounds cannot form loving families, with compromise and respect of each other’s backgrounds?

Martin Polack



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