May 23, 2024
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May 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Maybe It’s Time to Go Backwards

Does anyone know of people who are happy about the current shidduch situation? Many say it is a crisis. Others just shrug their shoulders. It seems to me that it is the most ludicrous of times.

Look around this community, your community, out-of-town cities, and see what everyone notices but few are doing anything about. Did you know that most people will not agree to having their children “date” someone who lives nearby because there is a good chance that it will not work out and then what would the families do when they see each other? It would be a “shanda!” Aren’t we all adults?

Do you know that if a boy is one inch taller than the girl it doesn’t seem nice? Do you know that there are girls who will not agree to go out with someone who is slightly shorter than they are because it is soooooo embarrassing. How would it look for a boy who is not a professional (a plumber) to go out with an accountant? They will obviously have nothing to talk about with each other. Do you know that there are young people—young men and women who grew up in the same town and whose parents were friends and they were playmates—but now that they are “mature 18-25 year olds,” who cannot speak with each other when they meet on the street because “it doesn’t look right”?

Did you know that one cannot just make a suggestion to a young man or woman about going out with someone on a coffee date? Because they cannot consider it before they see the “resume” of that person. After they see the resume they have to check with 10 of their friends to ask if they know of this person, the parents have to call their rav and every other person that they know who might live near where the individual lives, all for one cup of coffee. Please someone tell me how this makes any sense. Is it really “bitul” Torah to spend one or two hours on a coffee date?

Why has the world become so totally crazy?

I am sure that many remember the days when people met by chance at a party, a Shabbat table, an NCSY function, a HASC summer or a wedding where boys and girls were allowed to sit together in their finest clothing, where ice skating and roller skating together was a normal occurrence at YU Shabbatons for teenagers and certainly at YU seminars. Ask your local rabbis or for sure their parents how they met and trust me, the majority did not meet through multiple layers of investigating and checking out.

This topic has been written about so many times, including by me. Yet I am so frustrated that nothing changes and practically every day someone approaches me about a shidduch for their child. How many parents are embarrassed by the way that their children might respond when someone is suggested? In some cases parents have no control over what “friends” think, and in other cases parents are the cause of the problem, thinking that their offspring is too good for anyone. It is when these “special” people turn 28 and 32 and 35 that parents begin to have conniptions that their princesses and princes are not married. In our world a girl of 25 is already considered ancient? This is a sickness.

There are so many absolutely lovely young men and women living in our communities who have not met their “bashert.” Why? In many cases I think that it is because they saw something on the resume that did not appeal to them. It all makes no sense. Must a professional be married to a professional? Are there not girls who are working on careers who would not be interested in meeting a boy who is sitting and learning? Perhaps it is their parents who will not consider such a shidduch. Life changes and so do people.

I remember sitting at the Touro PA graduation and a family that was sitting right next to us told us that their 32-year-old son was graduating. He had been learning in Lakewood and realized at a certain point that it was not fair for his wife (who was not against his learning) to be taking care of their six children and going to work and never complaining while he sat in the beit midrash and learned day and night. While already in the program he had been offered a job as a PA in the orthopedic department of a large hospital. They were so proud of him.

Things change in life and people do not stay the same, no matter who they are.

I suggest that resumes be thrown in the garbage, and the only way that I can see that properly happening is if the rebbeim in all of the yeshivas would speak about the lunacy of the dating scene today. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if on one particular Shabbat all of the rabbis across the U.S. spoke about how serious it is that the criteria that many place on potential shidduchim be reconsidered. Imagine how beautiful it would be for the shuls to begin to have coed functions for young men and women. It would need to be a rav with immense courage to attempt to change the system but if many did it at the same time it could be very effective. What would happen if families would invite men and women for a Shabbat meal who casually know each other but are unattached? Does that have to be embarrassing? We are the ones who make it that way.

The process of finding a shidduch these days is painful, unpleasant and unfair. Together with the rabbinic leadership around us it can be changed. Who will be the first one to decry the system? Who will be the first young man in the community to go out with a young lady without perusing her resume? Rumor has it that each boy has “hundreds” of resumes and therefore is not interested in any suggestions other than from his friends. There is something nutty about this world and I would be interested in making shidduchim together with others which are based on good vibes instead of written scrolls of paper, phone calls, photographs, 30 calls of checking, etc. Please let me know if you have children who would be willing to try it.

By Nina Glilck

 

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