Baby Boomer Shidduch Crisis

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    can anyone explain me why there was no shiduch crisis 35-40 years ago. the baby boomer litvisher oilam was getting married with an age gap ,HOWEVER looking at our 60 yr olds we see no evidence of any crisis.

    i have no agenda- just maybe by examining history we can find a solution.

    yes, the population was extremely smaller but it doesn’t seem to me that there are more 60 year old women not married then men.

    I DON’T CLAIM to have any scientific data to back up my claims, just observations. -so please dont pounce on me .


    There are a few unmarried 60ish year old women in my shul, but only one unmarried 60ish year old man. So maybe look a bit more carefully… I also know more divorced women than divorced men. I’ve heard of divorced men marrying single women, but not really vice versa.

    YW Moderator-42

    Was there as big of an age gap with that generation? I get the feeling the men from that generation got married younger. They didn’t have bullet-proof mechitzas in those days so the boys and girls met each other earlier…


    i know more 55+ single men then women.

    i would like to hear form other cr members what they observed.


    yk- good point. i would suggest two possiblities

    1. you had more bt’s mainstreamed in the black hat yeshiva system and you had many boys from just shomer shabbos families who got inspired by yeshivos and then became ultra Orthodox, while not as common by girls. Some of the baby-boomer roshei yeshivos and magidei shiurim come from poshuter just shomrei shabbos homes.

    2. today aside from the age gap,From the KIDS AT RISK we are losing more boys then girls. IN ultra yeshiva families there are more boys who do not remain like their families then girls. AND THE SAME IS TRUE WITH AGUDAH TYPE FAMILES.

    Theory # 1 would suggest that we put more emphasis on being mekarev not frum or modern boys and then mainstreaming them in Patterson, springfield and fallsburg etc.

    Theory # 2 would suggest that we put more emphasis on avoiding kids at risk .

    i hope this gets passed on to mr. rechnitz


    The Young Israel of eastern parkway had dancing in Thursday nights after basketball in the gym . We were regular American teenagers who happened to have been raised in observant homes. Of course there were guys who opted for salami sandwiches at mishmar . Some are dead & some are living…in my life I’ve loved them all.


    YK – I agree with you, but we don’t have any facts to back us up. Someone with money would need to fund a survey.

    MarbehShalom – I agree with you. However:

    The overwhelming majority of BT boys marry BT girls. And there are more BT girls than BT boys. Creating additional BT boys would probably help BT girls more than the Beis Yaakov girls Mr. Rechnitz discussed in the article. (But feel free to make large donations to BT yeshivas anyways! πŸ™‚

    A few might show up at those yeshivas you mentioned, and a fraction of those might marry BY girls, but I don’t think you’re going to get the kind of numbers you need to really make a difference in the Shidduch Crisis.

    The world is very different now than it was then. Ohr Sameach has Wi-fi. Beis Ya’akov girls want a much higher standard of frumkeit than in the old days.


    People were not segregated from each other by gender, as completely as they are today. There were no stupid “rules” of how to set up shidduchim. A shidduch was suggested to both a boy and girl,the boy called the girl and they went out. There was none of the nonsense of submitting resumes and CIA background checks before a shidduch could go forward. People went out with more than one person in a given week (unless it was becoming obvious there was a more serious connection being made, and then the relationship became exclusive with the one person being dated)

    Even better, the boys and girls met at Shul or Jewish-sponsored College events, Bnei Akiva or some other type of group, or even at camp. If the boy and girl were compatible, they went out again, no reporting to shadchanim to break it off or tell the person it’s a go for another date. Dating couples acted like grownups, and they called each other on the telephone in between dates. Texting IMO, is one of the worst things that has happened to our kids’ dating lives. No one knows how to have a real conversation anymore. 40 years ago when I was still waiting to meet my Bashert, things were SO much easier.


    TRUEBT- yes you are correct, however if mr. rechnitz would invest in kiruv at a younger stage than ohr samach does, perhaps we can mainstream our bt’s into mainstream ultra orthodox yeshivos . this would make them candidates for mainstream ffb or yfb- (yeshivish from birth) shiduchim.


    IN THE 70’S and early 80’s bt’s or maybe better said halfway bt’s were marrying high end roshei yeshiva daughters.

    SECOND OF yk is saying ALL WE ARE LOSING IN THE TEENAGE YEARS MORE BOYS THAN GIRLS Mr Rechnitz – lets invest in lkwd cheder type schools to insure we dont lose any boys after their bar mitzva


    Oomis, we’ve been through this before: 1) those who segregate more, if anything, have less of a shidduch problem. Think chassidim.

    2) What you mention doesn’t explain why more girls are left out.

    As to why we have only noticed a shidduch crisis now (actually the disparity was noted at least twenty years ago), the yeshivish family barely existed 55-60 years ago, so there’s no similar dating pattern (age gap)/family size (population growth) society to compare to today’s. I don’t really think the question even starts.


    First,the parents of many baby boomers were Holocaust survivors.

    They had and tried to instill in us Emuna Peshuta, this is what Hashem wants/expects us to do and if we did have questions they tried to help us understand. If not, the schools in those years had teachers were examples of Torah and that helped too. And so too when it came to shidduchim, it was usually a friend, acquaintance who read a shidduch. Even if the backgrounds were different, there was trust that if Mr. or Mrs. so and so redt this for us, there must be something to it. So in one family you can find children marrying to diff backgrounds, such as diff sects of Chassidus, Litvish and sometimes even a frum YU type.In regard to choosing a son in law, my mother would say, we take the boy,not a boy!

    Remembertoo there was one telephone with a short cord so there was not so much unecessary talk and gossip. One had a chance to think b4 they spoke. Today, too many people run to discuss such as issues with just anyone and everyone including shidduchim being redt.They speak b4 they think! Yes, there are many who wait for the phone to ring but there are others who just say a flat NO to shidduchim on no basis at all and 5 yrs. later they forget and wonder why barely a shidduch is redt to them.

    Here is an example of a baby boomer marriage of about 45-50 yrs ago.An acquaintance of mine tells the story of her sister in law from a Chassidish/Heimish(no shtreimel) background who married a

    Litvish boy from Lower East Side. One night, about 2-3 months after the wedding, the young woman shows up at her parents house saying her husband is different,meaning his customs and this is not for her. Her parents nicely told her, “you married him, this is your husband and you follow his customs”. What are the chances of something like this happening today.

    Some of the at risk kids want to be a little diff but the family won’t accept it so they just go extreme.

    Another point, which is not on subject. Many of the at risk are behaving just like the person who raised them, the babysitters who were not from unzere. Till they were little their mother dressed them in her taste and felt she was in control when at home. Once these kids are grown they do their own! At a wedding in Canada the kallah gave her Spanish maid the first dance and told her mother “she raised me so she is first”,true story. The mother’s tears were too late and wasted at this point.

    Yes, we should have events such as Tu Baav that would cater to those who really want to get married not have a good time and talk narishkeiten.


    1) those who segregate more, if anything, have less of a shidduch problem. Think chassidim.

    I’m not sure that you can attribute the “ease” of marriage among chassidim to greater gender separation.

    I think it’s far more attributable to the fact that the chosson/kallah have very little input into the process — something that does not apply to the rest of the Jewish world.

    However, if you compare like situations (i.e. ones where the chosson and kallah are the primary decision makers and not the parents), I’m not so sure that your rule would apply.

    The Wolf


    There was a disasterous shidduch crisis among the “baby boomers” – but it was among the seculars, and in particular the secular Jews. Many of the non-frum Jews of the baby boomer generation failed miserably at reproducing. As a result, subsequent generations are radically reduced. Combined with our birth rate, that “crisis” is a major reason why the percentage of Shomer Shabbos among Jews has climbed radically over the last 50 years.

    The primary “proof” of a shidduch crisis is a falling birth rate and what that results in (schools closing for lack of students, pediatricians retraining to specialize in geiatrics, etc.).



    As others have explained it is becasue then they had more oppurtunities to meet. More meeting = more “dates” = more marriages (when that is the goal of dating) it is that simple.

    Furthermore the amount of hoops that had to be jumped through just to get two people to go out where no-existant.

    As for chasidim it is simpler becasue while they do a lot of checking, once that is complete the shiduch is basically done, the couple meeting is a formality and rarley is a shiduch not gone through after the couple meets.

    Strict matching of singles works, lots of dating works. Somehow we have combined the bad aspects of both and created a disaster that did not exist 50 years ago.

    It has (almost) nothing to do with an “age gap” TM


    I am a late baby boomer and part of the second time around shidduch crisis. I find the prospective matches closed minded and cagey.


    I think the fact that we are letting the shadchanim control the situation is part of the problem.I have BH married off 5 children and only 1 son found his bashert from a shadchan(who was his rebbe, so that might not count). The rest were friends and acquaintances. Although I am “Yeshivishe”, I have raised my children to be friendly and social with our friends and shul-mates.


    Marbehshalom, your term “halfway bt’s” is ambiguous. My first take was they were only halfway to teshuva. On reflection, I realized you probably meant they were nominally Orthodox to begin with and became fully frum.


    WE MAY differ on details and statistics, but we all agree that the shidduch crisis is not only due to the “age gap” , but there are other factors present as well. – as evident form the fact that there was no shidduch crisis during the baby boomer shidduch stage.


    you’re efforts are all wonderful and i wish you much hatzlochoh, however you should research other factors as well , and with daas torah guidance work on other factors. a little tweaking here and there we could make :epis” a difference in the numbers


    Yikkumpurkan, your “evidence” is based on unfounded assumptions.

    Why do the same people working on age gap need to be the ones working on other factors? Go ahead and identify the “other factors”, and get to work!


    I ALSO would like to clarify that there definitely were difficulties in the baby-boomer shidduch system. Which is why we have many high quality baby boomers are still single.

    MY point was just that there seems that there was no imbalance between buys and girls as you have today


    MY point was just that there seems that there was no imbalance between buys and girls as you have today

    That’s because the factors causing the current disparity (population growth and age gap) were not extant to the degree they are today (or, more precisely, to the degree they were about two decades ago).


    DY i can identify the “other factors”

    It is becasue we have a system where we expect a couple to develop a relatonship prior to mariage, yet make it exceedingly diffcult for the two to actually meet in an attempt to start a relationship.

    The above was not the case 40 years ago, nor is it the case among chasidim. THAT is the real casue of the crises.

    Anything that will get more people going out, get girls more dates, eliminate the amount of hoops people jump through to get a couple to just meet and essentially begin the process, will help resolve the process. (or conversely setting them up and just have them amrry and develop a relationship later)

    Continuing the process we have now but with a closer age will do NOTHING to resolve the real issues.


    Back then people may have been more willing to marry a person they didn’t actually like.


    dass yochid- if you scroll back there were a few factors mentioned earlier by cr posters.

    i liked most what marbehshalom said …

    1. less bt’s learning in fallsburg and patterson type yeshivos as oppsed to yrs ago

    2. kid @ risk is more prevalent by boys than girls


    I think there is a shidduch crisis for that generation also. I also think they did not have an age gap.


    hey pop- girls were startng shiduchs @ 19 and boys a few yrs later


    Hey Yikk–who says? My info suggests the girls were starting later than that.


    girls were startng shiduchs @ 19 and boys a few yrs later

    A made up, and probably untrue assumption. Even if it were true, if (and this p4obably is true), families were typically smaller, you wouldn’t see the same disparity between boys and girls in shidduchim.


    Don’t know where you got your info, pop_bar_a.

    Were you dating then?

    Girls often started even younger back then. Many started dating at 18. And it was not unheard of to have a 17 year old date, although it was rare.

    Seminary in Israel was in its infancy then; the vast majority of girls were home, and started dating early.

    It would be interesting to have some real professionals crunch the numbers and try to make some sort of accurate assessment of what’s been going on in the shidduch world over the years.

    Mostly we’re working with anecdotal evidence.


    I posted this once before. Dr. Halpert seems to feel that the gap widened. He doesn’t say what his evidence is.

    Ariel Halpert, Ph.D.

    Posted Jan 23 2008

    It is the best of times and the worst of times in the world of shidduch dating. Anecdotal evidence suggests that most single men in the various circles of Orthodox Jewry today have long lists of potential shidduchim and continuous dating opportunities. At the same time, many single women struggle with short lists and relatively infrequent dating. This imbalance represents a looming tragedy within the community as ever-increasing numbers of women are marrying later in life or not getting married at all. But what’s behind it?

    The problem cannot be explained by other oft-cited causes of the shidduch crisis, such as the lack of suitable venues for singles to meet, the failure of friends and family to be sufficiently engaged in matchmaking, singles’ own unrealistic standards, etc., since none of these explain the imbalance in dating opportunities.

    Rather, the problem stems from demographic trends of a growing community coupled with a widening age gap between husbands and wives. Though age differences of up to about three years within a marriage have always been common, today we are seeing men marrying women 5, 6, or 7 years their junior with increasing frequency.While an expanding Jewish population is a good thing, the widening marital age gap is having devastating consequences on the ratio of single men to single women within the shidduch pool. Ideally, the ratio should be 1:1, with equally as many single women as single men. Lower ratios, as demonstrated below, mean fewer men than women, so that in any matching of men to women, there will necessarily be women without a match.

    The mathematical discipline of combinatorics uses the term “matching” to describe a situation in which elements of two distinct sets (think of single men and single women) may be paired in a one-to-one manner (think of marriage) in such a way that all pairs are appropriate or allowable (think of some shidduchim that are traditionally not appropriate from the start, e.g. a very tall girl with a very short boy). A perfect matching is one in which every girl is paired with a boy, and every boy with a girl, or in the language of mathematics, every vertex is incident to exactly one edge. Thus, the term “perfect matching” refers not to the merits of any individual match but to the pairing of all the elements of the two sets.

    The Marriage Theorem of 1935 (attributable to mathematicians D. Konig and P. Hall) gives a necessary and sufficient condition for a perfect matching. Using the language of shidduchim, the condition can be stated as follows: For every group of single women (call such a group G) within those people in the “parsha” of shidduchim, the number of single men who would make an appropriate shidduch for at least one of the single women in G should be at least as large as the number of women in G. I will spare the reader the mathematical statement of this condition, but will posit that some reflection on the condition leads to the conclusion that the widening age gap between marriage partners is creating a situation in which “perfect matching” is not possible.

    Data from the U.S. Census of 2000 provides supporting evidence that our community is growing in size. From the mid-1970’s to the early 1980’s, the number of children within the New York frum community born in a given year as compared with the number born in the previous year increased by just under 1% per year. So for example, if 10,000 children were born in 1975, then approximately 10,100 were born in 1976. Then, from the early to mid-1980s, this rate increased to nearly 1.5%, and by the mid-1980’s the rate was over 2%. These numbers may not sound like much, but when viewed within a demographic model, the results can be significant.

    Using the above numbers along with a simple demographic model, and assuming that the age gap between husbands and their wives averages around 3 years (with a range of 1 to 5 years), we can estimate ratios of single men to single women who are 1 to 5 years younger than them.

    For single women age 20, the modeled ratio is approximately 90%, which means that for every 100 single women at age 20, there are only about 90 single men who are 1 to 5 years older in the pool of potential marriage candidates. For single women age 25, the modeled ratio is only around 80%, and for single women age 30, the modeled ratio drops to around 60%.

    In other words, the ratios decrease with increasing age, since as more men marry, there are proportionally fewer remaining single men to pair with the remaining single women. For example, with a ratio of 80%, there are 80 men for 100 women. If, say, 20 of the 80 men marry 20 of the 100 women, then 60 men and 80 women remain, reducing the ratio to 75%. In the extreme case, if all 80 men marry, then there remain 20 women with no possible match. Practically, this forces the age gap to widen further as the single women must consider even older single men. In general, wider age gaps decrease the ratio, which magnifies the problem.

    Shadchanim, parents, and rabbis must recognize this demographic trend and prevent it from causing an ongoing tragedy in our community. This can be done by fostering an environment that encourages men to date and marry women closer to their own age. To be clear, on an individual level, each shidduch should continue to be pursued based on its own particular merits. But it is important to reverse the trend among shidduchim in general. In doing such, the balance between what may be good for the individual versus what is in the best interest of the community must be sought.


    1. Is there absolute evidence that there are materially more unmarried women (excluding widows) in the frum community than unmarried men?

    2. Is the thought that the age gap is the primary cause of a shidduch crisis incontrovertible?


    Watch the good Doctor’s bait and switch :”Anecdotal evidence suggests that most single men in the various circles of Orthodox Jewry today have long lists of potential shidduchim and continuous dating opportunities. At the same time, many single women struggle with short lists and relatively infrequent dating.”

    He then switches to a discussion regarding matching which is 1:1. Dating however is not 1:1. a guy generally dates more than one girl before he gets married. Thus while the rest of his piece is intersting it, in no way explains the problem he introduced in the opening paragraph

    (DY I know you know this already I’m just sharing for some of the newcomers)


    dy- dass yochid means when te rabbim argue


    YP, what is your point?


    I just think this is one of a number of nisyonos this generation is being put thru. I don’t beleive it’s because of any age disparities or other such nonsense, I think the world has changed in many areas obviously and there are many different nisyonis today that weren’t so prevalent years ago, but I think the running after magic solutions just shows a lack of Emunah. G- d is still the same. Still helping us with our lives, still there for us to reach out to and call out for. That’s the only solution,


    I am sure that the explanation is this simple: There was no shidduch crisis for the baby boomers because there was no internet and no YWN to enable uninformed people discuss issues without any evidence in support of their conclusions. For as long as I have been reading about a shdduch crisis, I have been asking for an explanation of what is meant by “shidduch crisis” and what evidence shows that it exists. I am still waiting for answers.


    The reason why less 60+ women are single is that due to people living longer, they are finding it harder to kill their husbands …


    nfgo- YOURE SAYING THAT THE YESHIC=VISH LKWD type people dont have more girls per boy.? did you ever hear of the age gap problem?


    Wolf, still, the yeshivish still have an overall higher marriage percentage than the Modern Orthodox. Besides, I’m not really trying to demonstrate a correlation, as much as to debunk the false correlation the other way.


    The crisis is because people are spoiled brats. Most think they deserve the world and fail to see the good in people.


    No. People deserve the right not to marry someone they don’t want to be married to.


    best bubby, i want to take you for lunch!!! finally someone here that knows what they are talking about


    Now, I am hungry! (I hope you were referring to me, otherwise I am being VERY presumptuous)!

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