NY Post Article: Rabbis Taking On Mismatch-Makers

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chupa.jpgThe following are excerpts of an article appearing in today’s NY Post:

There’s an epidemic of kosher cradle snatchers — and a group of rabbis is out to tame them.

The Talmudic titans, based here and in Israel, are calling for matchmakers to stop setting up Jewish men with much younger women, claiming the practice is leaving too many older women unmarried.

Matchmakers should set up men only with women whose ages are “within a year or two of the boy’s, or even older,” the 60 yeshiva rabbis declared in a letter.

The marriage missive, issued in late September [and reported HERE on YWN], also suggested that shadchanim — Jewish matchmakers — concentrate on girls “age 20 and above.”

Local singles bristled at what they saw as an implication that women who aren’t even of the legal drinking age are already old maids.

“That mindset is the reason there’s a crisis,” said Allison Witty, 30, a communications director. “Women in the Orthodox Jewish world shouldn’t have an ‘expires by’ stamp on them.”

Sima Greenstein, a volunteer matchmaker in Cedarhurst, LI, had “mixed feelings” about the letter.

“When 30-year-old men say they want a 19-year-old girl, it’s just unfair to the ones who are the right age for them,” she said.

But, she added, “I’m not closing my doors to anybody. There are some 19-year-old girls who want to get taken by an older man.”

About five years ago, the rabbis assembled an emergency meeting to address the growing number of single Orthodox women — the so-called shidduch crisis.

Those rabbis concluded that older men marrying teen women was the primary cause.

They sponsored ads in Jewish publications promoting close-in-age matches. Some even suggested that matchmakers get paid double for making such connections.

Michael Salomon, author of the book “The Shidduch Crisis,” said the rabbis need to do more.

“I think this [edict] is a feeble attempt to address a situation that has never been addressed properly,” said the Orthodox Jewish psychiatrist from Long Island.

He said the crisis is also reflected in spiking divorce rates and domestic violence among observant Jewish couples.

Singles are being bullied into marriage by pushy matchmakers, the therapist said.

(Source: NY Post)


23 COMMENTS

  1. So the reporter didn;t quite understood that “older men” was referring to 22 year olds. But hey, they’re of legal drinking age, the apparent tippling point for marriage eligibility.

  2. The American Torah leaders solution for the crisis is that boys should marry girls of their age, or older. I believe that if we’d listen to the Torah sages of Eretz Yisroel there would be no crisis all together. Reb Chaim Kanievsy is of the opinion (so was the Chazon Ish) that boys should get married at a younger age. If the style of boys going to Eretz Yisroel for 2 years would stop, the situation would almost be resolved. In Europe where the boys (not ony Chasidish) get married at 19-20 years old, there’s almost no Shiduch crisis. The system of boys learning in their Yeshiva until they’re 20 yrs old and then going to E.Y. For 2-3 yrs is on automatic pilot with no Gedolim behind this system. I know that some will say that Reb Aaron Kotler was of the opinion that boys should get married late. That was then!

  3. #3 Maskim. If not cut it out all together- then certainly shorten it.

    For the record: the Author of the book Shidduch Crisis doesn’t begin to grasp the Age Gap concept as is self evident to anyone who reads his book. Why he is considered a authority on the issue with out having even the basic understanding of what is going on is mind boggling. But how should the NY Post know that.

  4. Always blame “the Rabbis” that’s the easy way out. Criticize whatever they say or do because they’re the easy scapegoats. What has this groisseh therapist from Long Island done toward solving this problem other than mouthing off on Rabbonim? PUH-LEEZ let’s not blame Rabbonim for every problem affecting frum yidden. I would venture to say that the problem of older singles is way more prevelant among the modern orthodox because they wait until they’re older to consider getting married either due to career preparation or just as a lifestyle choice based on the ways of the secular society. Besides they don’t exactly follow the words of “yeshiva” Rabbonim anyway.

  5. I haved lived in Israel for 7 years.
    It would be fair to say that there is no shidduch crisis here (at least comparing it to the USA).
    However the big crisis here is simply funding the wedding. The shocking levels of poverty mean that some families dont know where to come up with the $3000 to $4000 it costs to make a minimum size wedding. (Lock stock and barrel).[Source: Yad Ezra V’shulamit and The Mirrer Yeshiva Hachnosas Kalloh Fund]
    I often suggest a ‘shidduch’ concept to older single Americans I meet that they might wish to sponsor a wedding in Israel as the ultimate ‘segula’ for finding their bashert.

  6. Sammygol, you hit the nail on the head.

    The true shidduch problem lies in the unrealistic expectations of both the men/women dating. Until that is addressed by 70 Roshei Yeshiva, the Agudah convention will have a roundtable going in circles for many years to come. If the laymen are unwilling to grab the Age-Gap Bull by the horn and debunk the myth, NOTHING will change.

    The main thing is, no girl should marry a boy she feels unsure about. Age-gap statistics lie to create a “crisis” mindset, divorce and domestic strife statistice don’t. Even when they aren’t publicized they exist in alarming numbers.

    Behatzlachah!!

  7. Sammygol is on the nose. Exactly. The Age Gap may be the cause of so many singles (Sorry, artchill, but wishing it were a myth is not going to make it so- numbers do NOT lie, and you obviously don’t work in statistics to make such a statement).

    But….why is there such an age gap? I don’t need to repeat it, Sammygol said it much better than I can. Just re-read it as many times as necessary in order to understand the point…

  8. I don’t have clarity. Are the Roshey Yesheva shlit”a encouraging girls to get married older or boys to marry younger? It seems to me that in order to implement their plan, an ideal and same age must be set, for the boys and the girls. As long as girls begin shiduchim at 18 and boys at 22 there will always remain an age gap.

  9. # 4

    The Chofetz Chaim zt’l writes in a letter that boys who are learning should get married at 25. So apparently there is a chilukei daios about this subject. (I assume the CC was referring to boys who are learning, otherwise, yes, the boys should marry younger).

  10. According to my research, there is a large number of tall girls who have very minimal shidduch prospects, as there is an insufficient number of boys taller than them.

    Then you have shadchanim who will irresponsbily suggest a short girl for a tall boy, thereby taking another tall boy off the market.

    True, there are a small number of boys who don’t look at height and are willing to marry a girl an inch or two taller than them – but they are very few.

    Some have suggested that we convince boys to date girls taller than them, but it is hard to overcome the natural desire of a man to feel dominant in a marriage, and being the taller of the two contributes to that feeling.

    However, it is clearly very important that we urge the shadchanim to make extra efforts on behalf of the tall girls, and, conversely, consider short girls only when dealing with a very short boy.

    In this way we may somewhat redress the imbalance that has crept into the shidduch world.

    I plan to go around to Roshei Yeshiva and ask them to sign a Kol Korei on this matter, as soon as I can get all the Bais Yaakovs in US to give me statistics on how many tall unmarried girls they have among their alumni.

  11. I think that the boys’ families should be more open minded when it comes to looking into girls that have divorced parents. It is not right. It is something they are not able to change and there are plenty amazing girls that only grew from the situation and will be able to build a bayis neeman biyisroel. The boys’ parents need to get rid of the mindset that since their son is the one in high demand, that they have the right to have perfection. They need to remember that the only one who is perfect is Hashem and the girls that resemble him most are the ones that were able to take what they were given and turn into amazing young women.

  12. #18 that may be true but if you look at the product of parents that stayed together and created miserable lives for them and their children, the likelihood is pretty much the same. A person coming from a divorced family definitely shows some red flags but they should at least be given a chance and not have their resumes thrown in the trash.

  13. why is our buisness getting in to the ny post? which chuchum gave them this story or gave them info about this story . This is our issue not the worlds.

  14. when the bocherim start asking “size” questions you know something is wrong!

    so may STUPID questions are asked in the process it is ridiculous!

  15. “Singles are being bullied into marriage by pushy matchmakers, the therapist said”

    HUHH??? Please show me which single is being bullied and forced into a match that he or she does not want!!

    OHHH!!! I get it! single guys are being bullied into marrying older girls that they really dont want!

    thats gotta be it!

  16. #20 – I did not mean to be cynical. I just happen to think that pushing the age gap theory makes even less sense than my height theory.

    A shadchan has to redt a shidduch that makes sense. Of course they should try to focus on anyone who has a disadvantage for any reason – financial, cosmetic, age, family or height! However, it’s not easy to convince the other party.

    But it’s also true that the more people talk about the crisis, the more panic ensues – resulting in girls going out at 18-19 when they might otherwise concentrate on getting some education and job experience.

    It’s also very true that a lot of kids are being pushed into shidduchim – don’t you know anyone who broke their engagement because they were pushed into it when they weren’t ready? Or worse?

    This article is unfortunate. However, any time you read an article where you have inside knowledge you will notice MANY inaccuracies – and there’s not doubt that when you’re not knowledgeable you’re ready just as many spurious facts.

  17. Sarah Yarok. The difference between age gap and all other “disadvantages” is

    A)The sheer number of people affected by it- in the range of 10% having no shot to get married.

    B) it causes all the other problems to be exacerbated. So long as their are fewer girls in the dating pool, boys will always be able to insist on height, family, money etc. you name it. By evening out the numbers those issues will be greatly mitigated as well.

    Certainly shadchanim should redd shidduchim that make sense. However there is no reason not to look in the vast number of girls close to the boys age before suggesting girls far younger than the boy.