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> for every single girl there’s a single boy.
The heart of the “age-gap” theory is that this is not true, so long as most matches are between an older boy and a younger girl.
Truthfully, Joseph has a point: there are communities where you really can find a higher level of yiddishkeit.
But, in-towners often mistake appearances for meaning. They think that, because there’s a big organization that packs up hundreds of Shabbos meals every week there’s a higher level of g’milus chasadim. OOT, we don’t have hundreds of families in need, but we do have still have more than a couple of chesed organizations to try to make sure everyone has what they need. The difference is that, with our smaller community size, it’s easier to do things quietly. An outside observer could easily think it doesn’t happen, and that’s proper.
Also, consider that the aibishter isn’t counting how many chumras you observe: he’s noting how much effort you put into doing what He wants. The last Mishna in Pirkei Avos says that explicitly, in 3 oft-quoted words. Simply observing a basic level of kashrus, in some OOT communities (not ours), requires more effort than all the chumras you might be proud of in-town.
And yes: there is a lot more diversity in-town, and there are some neighborhoods where all the things I said don’t apply. (I’ve been in parts of Flatbush and Flushing where I certainly felt that was the case.) And there are certainly individuals in almost every neighborhood who are exceptions to the rule.
But my understanding of the question is that it was asking for generalities and impressions, so that’s what I gave. Obviously, with scores of different neighborhoods, and more than a million individuals, there are many exceptions to the rule.
One last thing: please consider, if you’re certain you and your community are an exception to the rule, that you might be mistaken.
Living OOT for a few decades now, every once in a while I think “it would be nice if it were easy to…” The pluses of living in-town, from our point of view, are mostly about convenience and choice: we imagine there’s 24-hour drive-through where you can get your tefillin checked, and we know there are a lot of restaurants, even if most of them are terrible; our town has fewer than 10, though none are terrible. Truth is, none here are as fancy as any of the 20 fanciest restaurants, though 2 have food as good as or better than anything available in NYC.
We are usually entertained by people from NYC who (often) come here on business. They can’t believe that we can survive without many of the conveniences they have. On the other hand, we don’t understand how they can survive the rampant dishonesty (we saw the article on tow trucks in Boro Park and said “of course – that’s what we expect in NYC”) the extravagant displays of observance and wealth, and what seems to us people frequently confusing the two.
One simple example: in NYC, in many neighborhoods, people are afraid their neighbors will think they’re poor and their kids will never get a shidduch if they don’t drive a Lexus, or at least an Acura. Here, genuinely wealthy people often drive Toyotas and Hondas.
Another simple example: when the chasuna takana came out, we had to laugh at all the people saying you just can’t have a nice event within those guidelines: every chasuna OOT is automatically within those guidelines! Why would we spend immense amounts of money we don’t have to throw a super-elaborate party that lasts a couple of hours?
It amazes us when people from in-town come to our supermarket and have no idea which hechshers are good, because they never have to look for a hechsher where thy shop. And they in general know exactly nothing about anything or any place outside their dalet amos, although, being New Yorkers, they are usually very impressed with how much they know, on every subject. OOT people generally manage to know about many different OOT communities, and also to know a fair amount about NYC. It’s not that we’re smarter, just that we’re not so provincial. Here, when I say “there’s no-one so provincial as a New Yorker,” everyone just nods their heads in agreement, especially the former New Yorkers.
Our daughter is looking forward to setting up her own bais ne’eman soon, and has told me that she doesn’t think she wants to raise children in our city because “it’s become too much like New York.” She has lived in NYC for the past 3 years!
> if as few as 5% of boys marry girls their age or older the theory kind of falls apart
No, it means the problem would be 5% (or maybe 10% if they’re significantly older) less bad. 90% of a really bad problem is still a really bad problem.
Please explain the Dating Divide; I’m not familiar with that. (Really; I’m not sarcastic; I’m from Yennevelt.)
> there are about 2% more boys born than girls, and girls survive childhood illnesses at a higher rate than boys, so the discrepancy is slightly less when they reach the age for shidduchim. Or do you have a different observation
People in this thread keep thinking that their observation means anything at all.
The actual numbers are very clear, and simple.
First, what you said is just wrong: in the general population, by age 19, the numbers are equal, and at all higher ages women outnumber men, more strongly every year.
More importantly, the year-on-year growth of our community is an even stronger effect. I’ll be very simple here: every year, there are more babies born to frum yidden, B”H. That means there are more 20-year-olds than 23-year-olds. Even if every 23-year-old boy marries a 20-year-old girl, there will be girls “left over”. The bigger the age gap, the more girls will be “left over”.
There are lots of other factors, but they’re just “nibbling around the edges” compared to the big numbers we’re talking about here.
In a healthy society, all of the people who want to get married would be able to.
> Single by choice
Do you mean that guys are staying single and thereby making it harder for girls to find someone to marry, or are you suggesting that many of the single girls choose to not marry, which no-one is talking about, here or elsewhere.