The Progress Report On The ‘Shidduch Crisis’ – By Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz

Just over a month ago, Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz made a rare and direct appeal in these pages. The cause that prompted him to abandon his usual policy of privacy: the pain of increasing numbers of girls who remain single, in a shidduch system that brings unending distress to thousands. Despite the sustained feedback of more than three thousand readers who took the plea to heart, and a new receptiveness among many to explore creative solutions, it’s apparent that a problem of such complexity and immensity cannot be solved with one magazine feature alone. The required change in attitudes, approach, social mores, and standards is an ongoing process that we as a community must undertake together. While change can be wrought through authoritative instructions, it’s often achieved in less dramatic ways — through gently altered attitudes and small incremental steps. In this case, change is being pursued on many levels and in many spheres. It’s a process. We are committed to the process, and to continuing the conversation. In the following pages, Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz shares an update on the progress that’s been made in the weeks since he turned to the public to place the shidduch catastrophe at the top of our agenda. The focus is both systemic and individual, with some changes on the institutional level, and others of the small incremental sort. As we look forward to a sweet new year, we pray that we keep moving forward in the direction of progress, and that we merit a year of yeshuos in every sphere — as a klal, as parents, as founders of the future homes of our nation, and as the individual children of an all-powerful Creator. On every morning of the month that has just come to a close, we were reminded by the kol shofar of Chodesh Elul’s presence. We’ve tried our best to prepare ourselves for the joyous yet fearful Yom Hadin. Hopefully, the 3,500-plus responses that poured in following my first article about the Shidduch Crisis — responses saturated with so many individuals’ concern for our sisters, daughters, and friends, yearning to suggest an eitzah, offers to personally help by contributing time or money to bring this crisis to an end — will serve both as a chizuk to Klal Yisrael and as a force advocating for us during these Yemei Hadin, as each one of our trembling neshamos pass like sheep under the Eibeshter’s staff. The hearts of Klal Yisrael are clearly crying out. Not many of us particularly like putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) in a public forum. However, the sheer volume of interest, the eagerness and willingness to help, made me want to run out into the street and scream at the top of my lungs, “Mi k’amcha Yisrael.” While I would love to have read each and every response, I have not yet had the time, but I do plan b’ezras Hashem to read through every single one, as I believe that any person, especially someone who took the time to write, must have insights and ideas that are worthy of consideration. I’d like to first clarify one point from my previous article where my intentions may have been misconstrued or misunderstood. I’ve received some comments questioning my sensitivity, or lack thereof, toward “older girls,” as I pointed out a … Continue reading The Progress Report On The ‘Shidduch Crisis’ – By Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz