How do people afford apartments in Israel?

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    So I know the main way is either your parents give you the money or you go schnoring but what if your parents aren’t able and/or willing to help… is schnoring the only other way? I work full a full time job so I couldn’t even take the time off to go schoring and even if I could I wouldn’t know where to start. Plus, being employed I’d feel bad begging when there are those out there doing it who probably don’t have what to eat.

    But my predicament is by my wife and I work so we can’t get any of the kollel discounts on anything – we have to pay full fare on school tuition, arnona, even bank fees! (I was told once by the bank that if I was an avreich I could get a discount on credit card fees but the catch 22 was I could only qualify for the card if I was working). Yet even with dual incomes we can’t afford rent and don’t have anything for a down payment.

    Now I know a kollel stipend is a fraction of my paycheck, yet every avreich, cheder rebbe, etc. I speak to has their own apartment in Beitar or Elad or somewhere that they rent out so even though they make much less money than I do they own property while I’m going into debt renting.

    It would feel so wrong to go and schnor but maybe I just have to much gaiva and need to swallow my pride? The whole situation just seems upside down – does anyone else experience this? I’m surer the answer is no but are you aware of any solutions?



    Can you do a GoFundMe page and share it with your friends and their friends?

    Or instead of writing here you can make a blog and have a link for PayPal donations.

    Once a week update the blog about your life or what you learned in kollel so people feel invested in you and are pulled to support you and your family.

    You can do all that from home or where ever you have access to internet. Also you wouldn’t be begging. It may feel more dignifying personally.

    GoFundMe… Easy and Brief and Share Share Share:

    I did a GoFundMe once when I wanted to attend a conference over seas. I got a few small donations and one big one that allowed me to go. Yay Baruch Hashem!

    It felt way better to do that instead of begging. At the time it wasn’t something that I could afford without the donors’ help.

    On the GoFundMe page, I posted a brief video of me explaining why it was important and how it would help me fulfill my passion (which was a good cause).

    Using this site and other fund or crowdraising sites, I have friends who’ve raised a lot of money (thousands) for various medical treatments and probably other things that I cannot remember now.

    I also have friends who own non-profits and online donations make a huge difference.

    Maybe your friends in the US would love to personally support you and your family in this next step B”H. Every dollar makes a difference.

    One thing is that you prob need to claim it as income but maybe it’s like that for the schnoring thing too.

    OR you can also make two fundraising sites. Or give people options on how to help.

    -Consider asking someone if he/she will help you make a down payment on your apartment in Israel. Though that is a big deal and the first option gives you more control.

    -Maybe someone wants to help by donating food, diapers or children’s stuff, &/or clothes

    -Maybe someone wants to sponsor your family every month for $50

    Think about different ways to crowdsource.

    If you’re wiling to be open and share your story then you’ll be making a bigger kli for parnassa b’esrat Hashem.


    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    If you need the money, you need the money regardless of whether you’re learning or working. Obviously, it’s better not to “schnor” if you don’t have to, but if you have to, you have to. It sounds like you are working hard and doing your best, so there is nothing to feel ashamed of if you are not making ends meet.

    Maybe you should try to find some other solutions first. Is there anywhere you can cut expenses? Can you try getting a tuition break?

    I think you should try speaking to Mesila. Maybe they can try to find an alternative solution. Of course, if you really need to “schnor” then you have no choice. But that should be a last-solution – only if you can’t come up with anything else.

    What exactly do you mean by schnorring? Do you mean going door-to-door? If so, that should really only be a final solution after you have exhausted all other possibilities.

    Personally this is what I would do (more or less in order)”

    1. Daven and say parshas haMan.

    2. See if I can cut expenses anywhere

    3. Take on an additional job even if it means sleeping less (and spending Shabbos sleeping to make up for it)

    4. Figure out if I can find a job that pays more. Maybe start studying/training for something that will pay more. (although the Chovos halevavos recommends against switching fields to something that is not “matim” for you just because it sounds like it pays better).

    5. Borrow from gemachim

    6. Beg or borrow from family members

    7. Borrow from friends

    8. Try to find an organization or B’aal Tzedaka who will help me

    9. Keep davening the whole time. If you borrow, you have to daven that you will have the money to pay back.



    Thechesedfund is a Jewish fundraising crowdsourcing site too

    Ask your wife about it. You can always delete the page if it doesn’t work for you. Or leave it up while you do something else. Who knows who may stumble upon it and wish to donate.



    Thanks for the suggestion lightbrite – just to clarify I currently work full time… not in kollel. Which is part of the crazy thing – I don’t get paid a fortune but it’s also not too shabby a salary (by Israeli standards) and my wife makes over minimum wage and we still can’t finish the month. If I was in kollel I still wouldn’t be financially above water but at least I’d have a lot of learning to show for it, plus discounts on lots of things and probably better protexia for things like getting kids into schools. Slaving away just to pay rent that goes to pay off somebody else’s mortgage while leaving me with little time for my family and to learn kind of takes the whole incentive out of working.

    There are two issues here – one is not being in debt, and the other is affording a place of our own. We’re trying to budget and figure out where to cut costs but with high rent, high arnona, high price of food, higher than ever electricity bills and the never ending costs of B”H a few children running around there is only so much to trim.

    The second issue is buying a place so that at least every month we’re paying off a mortgage instead of rent and a few decades from now could have something to show for our struggles (as well as not having to worry about moving every few years and finding a new neighborhood, new commute and new schools for the kids). I just feel a little skeptical that I could raise $100-150k necessary for a down payment.

    Plus I feel bad taking when there are people in really horrible matzavs that are in need while we are in a tough spot but not starving (at least not yet B”H)


    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    If you do find a way to get money, please let me know….



    We recently bought an apartment (and moved not too long ago) in the south. If not for money that my parents left us after they passed, we would not have been able to buy. It’s actually a bit more than we can afford, but I’m looking at a few part-time job opportunities to help balance the monthly budget.

    You also need to be realistic as to where you want to buy, in terms of affordability. Several cities are just way too expensive to buy anything decent, so we settled on an alternate place that we’ve found to be wonderful, B”H.




    Assurnet, where do you live? When my daughter and SIL lived in Yerushalayim, they paid a fortune in rent. Now they’re in Kiryat Sefer, which is much cheaper, though not exactly cheap.



    Assurnet: Oops yes you made that very clear and I misread that.

    Would you still consider doing a GoFundMe and/or TheChesedFund?

    Your family is still valuable and has a cause. Thing is it would have to be something that your wife and you need to feel comfortable doing.

    Backtrack: If you want something like a fundraising page, then you have enough for that. What you explained says it all.

    How would this money help you and your children? What kind of stability could a home offer them and your wife?

    —You already mentioned some of this.

    Why can you not afford it? What do you do for work? There must be merit and goodness that you give back to the world that give your days unique merit.

    Those are all details that can go into a crowdsourcing website. If you want.



    None of my immediate family lives in EY, but several of the extended family do.

    One thing that two cousins did to help with housing costs when they were quite young was to find an elderly widow/widower still living alone in a large apartment that needed some live in help. In exchange for some of that assistance, they were able to get cheap rent in a large space.

    One eventually wrote a contract to buy the apartment at a greatly reduced rate after the elderly person died (in consideration of the care given). The other inherited the 4 bedroom apartment from the deceased. The will stated that since her children could not be bothered caring for her for the last 12 years of her life that my niece and her husband/kids who shared their love and kindness deserved it. She deceased left each of her children 100 NIS so they could not claim they were left out of the will by mistake.

    This is not a new concept, back in the early 1970s when I was in college this was a way that a number of my friends afforded Manhattan rent.

    You need to be creative in your thinking to afford housing in a tight market. I just rented out an apartment in a duplex with an option to buy after one year. I’ll give the tenant $250 month credit at closing from her rent plus handle the closing so there is no legal fee.


    There is an highly-regarded organization called Paamonim that helps peole in Israel organize their monthly budgets. They have branches in many cities and you can contact them for help in organizing your savings/spending.

    In regard to apartment buying, there are government programs to help first-time buyers break into the market, but many of them require you to buy in new developments outside the center of the country. (There was recently such a program for Harish and there is now one in Kiryat Shemona.) Paamonim will know about these programs.



    The OP has a very good question.

    In my experience, people who own diras have them bought by parents/in law or use wedding present money for a downpayment, and then pay mortgage instead of rent.

    I had neither of these luxuries, (18 years ago 1998-2000) and lived in a top floor apartment in Kiryat Sefer (or Qiryat Sefer ;)) forjust under two years. When the money ran out, we moved back to England. We moved to Gateshead, which is the cheapest kehilla to live in. I was able to teach in a yeshiva ketana for just over a year, when I had to go get a proper job.

    But I realise for many they don’t have anywhere to move back to, or can’t go to work for various reasons, and this becomes a major problem. I don’t see how, b’derech hateva, a kollel family can live on a regular kollel stipend, without any supplementary income. This could be a property investment on their behalf, or something like giving extra lessons to local schoolchildren.



    The truth is is probably some inheritance. Real estate in Israel is insanly expensive, Jerusalem was ranked as the most unaffordable city in the world (Tel Aviv was up there too).

    New York was also on the list, however at least people in NY can sometimes make enough money to pay the insane real estate as the jobs are good. This is not the case in Jerusalem where good high paying jobs are not available.

    Ive seen apartments in some desireable neighborhoods like Rehavia in Jerusalem going for over a Millions DOLLARS (Real Estate in Israel is priced in Dollars not Shekels). People in Jerusalem dont make that kind of money. The higher paying jobs in Israel are in the Tel Aviv-Herzyliah area.

    I was told rentals in Israel are more reasonable



    The true is answer is that it is a nes for anyone to afford an apartment.

    This is not a problem unique to kollel families as the OP has stated he is not learning in kollel. I have heard chiloni couples struggle with this issue as well. you need at least 30% for a down-payment and a monthly income 3x what the mortgage payment would be.

    ZD, Tel Aviv I believe is even more expensive than Jerusalem. And ever since the economic downturn in US and Europe, vs strength of Shekel, for the last 8+ years, apt prices have been in shekels only.

    I don’t know of anyone local who dreams of buying an apt in Jerusalem anymore- it is priced out of range of locals, and new apts are being marketed to foreign investors.

    Young couples look to buy in the periphery- up North, or down South. For example, you can get a 4 room (ie 3 bedroom) apartment in Karmiel for around 700-800,000 NIS (around $185,000-210,000. Something similar would cost 1.4-1.5 million ($368,000-$395,000) in Bet Shemesh and probably 2 million in Yerushalayim ($525,000).

    By the way, regarding those govt programs to help first time apt buyers- even that is expensive and very hard to get. To quote a recent article about a local project, 12,331 people entered a lottery to be eligible to purchase one of 87 apartments, at avg price of 830,000 for 3 rooms. And these apartments have not been built yet, meaning that the family will still have to pay rent for 3+ years.

    On the other hand, there was a heartwarming item on the news about a couple who entered the lottery hoping they would win something to cover their overdue electric bill; they won millions of shekel and now can afford to buy an apt. So miracles do happen. I hope you can get your own miracle, assurnet.


    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    Sometimes you can find a new area to move into that is relatively cheap. A friend of mine told me recently that a relative of hers bought an apartment for app. $20,000 (I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was something like that) in a particular area of Beit Shemesh. That was obviously very unusual, but it pays to be on the look-out for newer, less expensive areas. And if you find a really good deal, it might be kidai to find ways to borrow money.



    In the cheapest neighborhoods in Bet Shemesh, which are basically slum areas, you can find a 3 room of about 60m, no machsan, porch or elevator, for 800,000 NIS- more like $200,000.



    The Survery was based on Income vs Real estate costs. Jeruslaem is not the most expensive city strickly on Price, however once you add in incomes it is.

    So NYC is actually more more than Jerusalem in actual dollars, but its more affordable since you can make more money. There are ways in NYC to make enough money to pay for a $1 million dollar apartment (Like Wall Street Banker). Those ways do not exist in Jerusalem


    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    This was a particular deal that they had in a particular place at a particular point in time (maybe about a year or two ago) for a particular group of apartments.

    I’m not sure exactly where, but it might have been somewhere close to where Beit Shemesh becomes RBSB, maybe somewhere near Cheftziba, but I’m not sure. (aside from the fact that I don’t remember, I’ve never been good at geography).


    A lot of people do not own. Like ever. That’s life.



    Shopping613 – that may be technically true but as I said earlier – the vast majority of avreichim/melamdim/etc. I speak to do indeed own their own place (even if lets say they pay rent in Jerusalem and rent out their own place somewhere else).

    If a couple where both work and make decent salaries have no hope al pi derech hateva of coming up with the money for a down payment, how is it that so many in the learning world do manage it somehow? Especially if they come from a family of a similar background I find it hard to believe so many of them have wealthy parents who can just gift it to them.

    So what’s the secret that the rest of us aren’t let in on… is it all just schnoring at the end of the day? And if so, is schnoring seriously THAT lucrative? And if it is indeed that lucrative, then what is the point in sacrificing away a life of potential learning in order to slave away at a job just to set yourself up for financial failure anyway when you could just get it from somebody else and spend the majority of your time in the beis midrash? (I’m not saying that’s necessarily the right way to do things but I feel it’s a question that should at least be asked).


    Thanks mods for the new subtitle!



    zahavasdad, Israeli real estate is not quoted or priced in dollars, and hasn’t been for several years. The only real estate here that I see quoted in dollars are projects intended for purchase by absentee owner Americans.


    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    I recently asked a friend of mine whose oldest daughters are in shidduchim now about this – how people afford apartments for their kids. She told me that her daughters have discussed it with their friends and just about everyone seems to have some relative who has money and helps them out.

    I know with one friend of mine whose family had NO money at all to help out and she married a boy who is learning and whose parents were in chinuch, there was some relative on the boy’s side (maybe his grandmother) who bought their apartment for them.

    Does every family really have some relative who works and has money and is willing to help them out? I don’t know. I guess it makes sense that in every family there will be someone who is not cut out for learning, and if the rest of his family learns and he doesn’t, it would make sense that he would feel that he should be helping them out.

    I don’t know if this is the case for every single family, but it’s possible that it is the case for most.


    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    Assurnet: “And if it is indeed that lucrative, then what is the point in sacrificing away a life of potential learning in order to slave away at a job just to set yourself up for financial failure anyway when you could just get it from somebody else and spend the majority of your time in the beis midrash?”

    Maybe you have a point.



    Assurnet, you raise some very good points, I have no answers for them.

    Al pi teva, none of this makes sense. But most of what happens in E”Y does not make too much sense al pi teva.

    As far as buying apts for kids getting married, the relative of means may come thru for daughter#1. But what about the next 6-7? Just how many super rich relatives are there out there? Realistically, there are an awful lot of girls sitting around not getting shidduchim because their families cannot come up with the 500,000- 1,000,000 NIS that is needed to buy an apartment (price goes up with value of boy in question).


    Assurnet- there was a huge article in the Hamodia’s “That’s an idea” section explaining a smart way to save up. It was so smart I couldn’t follow it! lol. I suggest you emailing them asking for it exactly. It was very long and detailed.



    While it’s true that it’s difficult for young people in Israel to buy homes, it’s also true in many parts of the United States. People are being priced out of the greater New York area and many other areas. Despite ZD’s explanation of the statistics he mentions, most people who want to live in the NY area don’t make Wall Street salaries.



    Once upon a time (30 years ago?), joining a religious kibbutz was a practical option. Upon acceptance following a lengthy trial to evaluate compatibility (on both sides), housing and other necessities were provided in exchange for one’s work on behalf of the Kibbutz.

    I’ve heard that the kibbutz movement in general has lost a lot of its appeal as personal priorities shifted away from the idealism of building the land of the previous generation towards more autonomous pursuit of personal financial goals (Capitalism over Socialism).



    Many people buy in the new places ‘on paper’. That means that they buy before the place is built. Apparently it’s a lot cheaper. Obviously you run the risk of the contractor going bust and losing your money.



    Georgie, this is not such a risk these days. Ever since the big bust about 10 years ago of the kablan in Beit Shemesh and other places that embezzled money, there is what I remember as a contract that the Kablan signs that there is a bank that provides what is called Areivut Bankait. This means that the bank guarantees that in the even the kablan goes belly up before your apartment is finished, they will step in, bring in another kablan and finishing building. Usually when you are taking a mortgage (mashkanta) the bank you are taking the mashkanta from will want to see the paperwork on the Areivut. It is pretty standard if you are buying in a new projection or extension of an existing project.



    There are lots of high paying jobs in NYC area, not just wall street.

    Even other jobs pay higher in NYC than elsewhere. Doctors make more in NYC than elsewhere.

    Someone told em recetnly thaat they commute from the Poconos (At least 2 hours each way) because Nurses in NYC make over $100,000 and Nurses in the Poconos make about $40,000


    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    “Realistically, there are an awful lot of girls sitting around not getting shidduchim because their families cannot come up with the 500,000- 1,000,000 NIS that is needed to buy an apartment (price goes up with value of boy in question).”

    but l’maaseh, nearly everyone gets married. Certainly until recently, Israel did not have a “shidduch crisis”. I’m not sure if they do now either, but if they do, it is just started despite the fact that this has been an issue for a while. And in fact, if anything, I would think that it’s less of an issue than it used to be, so if there is starting to be a shidduch crisis, this issue (buying apts.) can’t be blamed.

    Furthermore, there is much more of a “shidduch crisis” in the US despite the fact that this issue does not exist there.



    Geordie613 – from what I’m aware it’s not so much cheaper to buy on paper. In fact, because it’s a brand new apartment and you can customize a lot of stuff, depending on where an alternative existing apartment is it could possibly even be more expensive. However you do save money on any potential renovations you’d have to do on an existing place.

    Most projects nowadays are insured by a major Israeli bank in order to guarantee the buyer’s money in case the contractor goes belly-up. Additionally the payments are made are made in installments based on progress in the construction – i.e. you make a payment after they pour the concrete, another payment when they do the wiring, etc. That way if the construction isn’t going according to schedule they don’t get paid.

    That being said there is a big down payment up front and the entire time until you get the keys you are paying for construction as well as rent wherever you’re currently living.


    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    I think that some people borrow the money to buy an apartment. This way, they can make payments to the people they owe money to instead of paying rent. Then eventually, they finish paying them off (unlike rent which lasts forever). Hopefully, they finish the payments before their kids are in shidduchim. They can then use the money which had been going towards those payments for their kids’ mortgages and/or down payments on apartments. Also, by then the husbands should have some kind of parnassah in kli kodesh plud they no longer have to pay tuition for their kids who are no longer in school, so that money can also go towards helping their kids to buy apartments.

    Basically, as you pointed out, most people in Israel consider it less-costly to own an apartment, so they either borrow, get money from rich relatives or from the previous generation (who is not paying rent since their parents bought them their apartments, so they are able to afford to help out the next generation) in order to be able to buy. And then they are in a better position to help the next generation.

    Some people manage by continuously selling their apartments as the value goes up and buy in newer (less expensive) areas. I don’t know how many actually do that, but I heard of at least one person who did that.

    And some people create take some space from their apartment and add on to it in order to create another apt. they can rent out to help them pay the mortgage. Or they create an apt. out of their machsan or parking lot to rent out.

    I think that basically the way it works is that if you are part of a system, you know how that system works and how to manage within that system. But if you did not grow up in that system, you are pretty clueless. That is why Americans in Israel have such a hard time.

    I am still trying to figure all this out myself. I have a hard enough time managing as a single girl, so I can’t for the life of me figure out how it works when you have an entire family to support.


    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    I think that one big difference between being in kollel vs. working is that when someone is in kollel, I would imagine that it is much easier to live simply than when you are working.

    When someone chooses to learn in Kollel, they are aware that they chose to sacrifice (in the physical realm) in order to live a more Ruchnius lifestyle. So they are ready and willing to live simply. That is a basic part of Kollel life. When someone chooses to work all day to make money, they expect to be able to not have to scrimp TOO much.

    I know that personally, whenever I have to make a decision about taking on an extra job or extra work hours, when I make my cheshbonos, I always take into account the fact that the more I work, the more money I am likely to spend.



    Agree with assurnet- it is a bit cheaper, but not by much, to buy on paper these days, since the risk has dropped so much. There are laws now mandating bank guarantees, and the days when unknown kablanim go bust or run off to Europe are past, B”H. There are projects where you pay a down-payment and then the rest when it is finished, but most have payment schedules like assurnet described. so a family has to come up with money for the new place on top of rent for the current place. And buying new means it is bare boned – extra money will be needed to put in for A/C/heating, bars on windows, mezuzas, etc, things that a second hand apt usually has.



    Lilmod, I don’t think the shidduch situation in E”Y is as bad as in the US, but it is definitely problematic. I don’t have any statistics, but I hear this over and over from girls in shidduchim or from parents of the girls. Don’t forget that girls traditionally get married younger in E”Y. It used to be perfectly normal that by 20-21, almost all of the class was married or at least engaged. Now, there are a lot of girls in low-mid twenties that are still single. I”YH they will get married, but maybe not to the high caliber boy they would have wanted, because they realize they cannot afford him, or maybe their parents become more desperate when they see their daughter’s pain and promise things they would not/could not have earlier on. What has changed is that apartments have gotten so much more expensive- not too long ago you could go a bit farther out and get an apartment for cheap, or buy on paper (see above comment). there is a huge housing shortage and that is reflected in the rising prices.


    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    WTP – actually in EY, girls get married older than in the US. In the US, you pretty much have to start dating at 18 or 19, whereas in EY, it is totally acceptable to wait until you finish school at 20. The boys are younger here (in EY, they usually start at 21, and in the US, they usually start at 23 or 24), but the girls are older and have less pressure to get married by a particular age.

    I’m not saying there is no shidduch crisis in EY. I am just saying that it is less than the US, so I don’t see how you can blame the apt. issue on it.

    I didn’t realize that it is harder to buy an apt today, but I still think it is hard to blame the shidduch crisis on that. For one thing, there is a shidduch crisis in the US as well. And for another, my impression (although I am not absolutely certain) is that in a lot of ways, things have improved. For one thing, the economy is way better than it used to be. For another, I was under the impression, that today it is more common that some of the responsibility of paying for an apartment is on the boy’s side. And for another, it is much more common and acceptable for chareidi boys to work than it used to be.

    “I”YH they will get married, but maybe not to the high caliber boy they would have wanted..”

    I have a hard time with that sentence. I always looked at marriage as being about marrying the right one for you, not about “caliber”. If he’s not the right one for you, then you shouldn’t marry him, even if there is no one else, and if he is the right one then you should marry him even if he is not “high-caliber”. At least that is how I always looked at shidduchim, but maybe I’m wrong.



    Lilmod, I have a very different view of the shidduch situation in EY than you do, apparently. I do not agree that girls in the US get married younger- afterall, at 18-19 they go to EY for seminary and don’t start dating until sometime the year they come back. In EY, even though there are 3 more years of seminary/maslulim, plenty of girls get married during those years, and some even in 12th grade. At least that is how it used to be. If you see girls getting married later, it is exactly what I am talking about- it is not by choice, but because it is harder to get a shidduch these days.

    Ths shidduch “crisis” in American and in Israel are due to different reasons.

    The economy is better in Israel. True. That means the upper class has more money and the shekel is strong. Kollel families and people working at low paying jobs (such as teachers, rebbes, etc) have missed out on that boom. Have you noticed how basics like food and housing have skyrocketed recently? Did you hear about the cottage cheese protests? And child benefits and other government programs have been cut? It has gotten very expensive to live in E”Y. Many people, like Assurnet cannot afford to buy apartments unless somehow their parents do it for them.

    Yes, it is more acceptable for the boy’s side to offer part of the cost of the apt, and for the couple to take on some of the cost as well. But assuming that each family has both boys and girls to marry off, the fact that they may pay less for their daughters’ apt is off-set by the fact that they are paying more for their sons’ apts. Chareidim who go out to work are not doing it at the age they are dating, so that does not affect apt buying. When they do go out to work, it is so that they can feed their large families. They are not getting the high paying hi-tech jobs, and there is very little leftover for buying apartments. If they have left the yeshiva world to work at a young age, which also means they have to go to the army, then that puts them in a very different category for dating and they are not asking for apartments.

    And again, there is a very strong hierarchy in the shidduch scene among boys. The top yeshivas insist that their bochurim are worth “sidur malen”- meaning the price of a full apartment. The best bochurim will ask for an apt in the merkaz or yeushalayim. Second tier boys get full cost of apt in periphery. Third tier, get 70% of apt, etc. It is quite sick how the boys are marketed in this way, but this is how it is. You can protest and say you do not agree to such a system, but then you or your daughter will not get shidduchim. Now say you are a “great” girl, and want a really good boy from a good yeshiva with a strong potential in learning. but you can’t afford the full cost of an apt. that means you can only date the third tier boys, who might not be appropriate. so the years pass. Maybe by then the boy who is already older will settle for less of an apt, or the girl will settle for a boy she would not have considered at a younger age. So what it boils down to, is that money becomes the most important factor in determining the shidduch, rather than compatibility, shared goals, etc.

    Perhaps at some point the whole system will crash and priorities will be re-evaluated (hopefully by the time my kids reach shidduchim), but in the mean time this is out it is.


    WTP: I’m going into shidduchim soon, and my parents make just enough to get by, we are renting our apartment. The only way to pay for an apartment would be by fundraising, collecting, etc. I’m not sure that’s happening.

    I hear the way you explain the system, and I don’t think that system is entirely used by everyone nowadays. I think it’s mainly israeli’s in the merkaz area. Even the american israeli’s don’t use that system, in turn I hear they pay for the first year or 2 in rent and expenses so the couple can save up for a down payment. There are many other ways they do it.

    I also believe that more and more of the israelis are seeing this isn’t possible and are not determining their shidduchim on this. Besides for the fact I’m know the sefardim and chasidim do not use this way either. So in reality, the majority of frum jews are not using this system currently.


    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    They don’t go to seminary at 18 or 19 – they go at 17 or 18 and come back at 18 or 19 and start dating as soon as they come back. Most start right away. The ones that wait usually only wait a few months, so they are rarely older than 19 unless they were held back. Even the ones who were held back usually don’t turn 20 until sometime b/w September and December, and since they have been home since June, they still will start dating before they are 20. And those girls are less likely to wait.

    In my day, it was unheard of to pass your 20th birthday and not be dating yet. I was the only one I know who did that (besides for maybe one other girl I knew whose parents didn’t allow her to start dating before she was 20, and I thought they were nuts).

    It is possible that it is slightly different today and that you might find some girls in the US who don’t start until they are 20 but that is still not the norm (at least not in those circles which are the American equivalent of the Israeli circles




    Shopping, you are right, I am talking about Israelis. American Israelis have not gotten used to the system and if they date among their own, they can follow their own rules. But if their children want to date Israelis, they have a problem. Chasidim split 50/50, but still, they need to come up with 1/2 an Apt for all their kids, instead of a full apt for around 1/2 their kids. Ger solved the problem awhile back by starting communities in far-flung places like Ashdod and Chatzor Haglilit and forbade couples from buying in Yerushalayim. The advantage is that you can go far away and still have a strong community, while for the litvish couples to go out to the cheaper peripheral towns they are generally going without the infrastructure/community.

    Shopping, can I ask how the newly married American-Israeli couple, where the husband is in kollel and the young wife may or may not have a job, can save for a downpayment, even if they are not paying rent?



    lilmod, whatever age Americans go to seminary, it is still a year they are not dating when their Israeli equivalents who are “home” can start.


    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    WTP – your response wasn’t really a response since you didn’t see a fraction of my post. I will try to sum up when I have a chance.


    WTP: Still, I don’t see all israeli’s abiding to those rules either anymore.


    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    WTP – I don’t have time to rewrite my entire post, but I will try to do part of it.

    I have friends with top-daughters from top-seminars who are in shidduchim now, so I know that it is considered completely acceptable and normal for Israeli girls to wait until after the second year of seminary to start dating.

    While it is true that they can start during the first year, it is perfectly acceptable to wait until the second year is over or at least until Chanuka or Pesach of the second year. Even those girls who do go out during the first year usually wait until Pesach (or at least Chanuka).

    Also, remember that the average Israeli girl is usually older than the average American girl, since parents are more likely to hold back here, and more likely to skip in the US (although that has started to change).

    It is rare for girls to get married in 12th grade in EY. It is possible that it happens occasionally, but it happens sometimes in the US as well.

    Plus there are many American girls who don’t go to EY for sem, and many of those girls get married during seminary.


    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    From all that, it works out that on average, girls start dating older in Israel. It is known that in Israel girls start later and boys start younger and that is one reason given for the lack of (or less of) a shidduch crisis in EY than in the US.

    In EY, the girls are usually 20 & the boys are 21, whereas in the US, the girls are usually 19 & the boys are 23 or 24.



    Lilmod, I really can’t dispute your points, since both of us are talking based on our own experiences, which obviously represent a small sample size and may not reflect what goes on in general.

    I still don’t think that Israelis start dating later is an issue- just like some wait until 2nd year Pesach, there are also some US girls who wait until they calm down from the seminary high, until Chanuka or Pesach of the year they come back. And although there are girls who stay in the US for seminary and may start dating, there are also girls who stay 2nd year in Israel and start even later. Just like in Israel, there are those who start right away and those who wait. And if there is a tendency to hold back girls, it will shift the age only a few months- parents may hold back a girl born in Oct/Nov/Dec – so instead of being the youngest in the class, she will be a few months older. In any case I know there is this trend now, I don’t know if parents did this 20 years ago.



    In any case, my original point wasn’t that Israelis start dating earlier, but rather than they get married earlier. If one compared a typical class of 20 or 21 year olds in an Israeli BY vs an American BY, there would be a greater % married in the Israeli. I see however a change in this, and Israeli girls are no longer getting married as fast. My theory is that it is because of money/apt issues that used to not be as big a factor.

    I hope Shopping, that the system is correcting itself before it reaches the crisis levels seen in the US and that creative solutions are being used. I hope that the mentality of following the herd and sticking within a very narrow box does not prevent these much needed changes.

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