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MAILBAG: The Shidduch Crisis: A Plea For Action

To the mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, sisters, and brothers of Bnos Yisoel,

It was reported that there were serious discussions recently among senior Roshei Yeshiva regarding the shidduch crisis and the indisputable fact that the age gap plays a major role in creating and perpetuating the crisis. Many options were on the table on how to deal with the problem, but no conclusion has yet been reached.

I plead with each one of you to approach every Rosh Yeshiva you know and very respectfully explain to them what you are going through. Don’t be ashamed to tell them that your amazing daughter is in the parsha for a year, two, three or more and she has not gone out on even one date. This scenario is unfortunately extremely normal, and it does not in any way reflect poorly on you or your daughter. In fact, the vast majority of us are going through the same situation. Inform them how few serious shidduch suggestions you receive and how difficult it is to even get through to a competent shadchan. Don’t underestimate the power of the individual to be the catalyst of real change. The Roshei Yeshiva need to hear from the tzibur the full magnitude of the problem so that they should be motivated to make the painful concessions and bold moves that Klal Yisroel so desperately needs.

I know it is hard to believe but many roshei yeshiva are unaware of the full extent of what is going on and some even say that all this can’t be true because they are not hearing about it from their former talmidim (now fathers). It is time to stop suffering in silence and to try to do something positive for our girls. If we don’t wake up now and do our small part, we will have only ourselves to blame כי אם החרש תחרישי בעת הזאת וגו’.

If you need clarity on what the cause of the crisis is and what true Daas Torah is, please follow this link. Do not allow statements regarding bitachon to ruin your resolve to do what you can. Of course, each one of us needs to have bitachon that their daughter will be from the lucky 80%-85% to find a husband but our hearts still need to bleed for the other 15%-20%.

Please pick up the phone and respectfully do what you can, and of course, don’t forget to daven and cry to Hashem that your hishtadlus should bear fruit and the roshei yeshiva should have the strength and resolve to bring an end to this terrible gezeira.

Let us leave the details of the exact solution to them, but Klal Yisroel desperately needs them to come up with an answer now. As Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel of South Fallsburg said, this is the biggest tzara facing Klal Yisroel and continuing to do nothing is simply not an option. The Roshei Yeshiva are in the drivers seat and they can and will bs”d get the job done but we need to do our part.


A Yid with a Heart

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.


(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

47 Responses

  1. Yid With Heart (above letter writer):

    Why do you think that YOU know better than all these Roshei Yeshivos, who you apparently view as simpletons who can’t figure out such an obvious fact known only to you.

    Why do you think making an announcement like this for the masses of people, masses of random people reading this that you also think are wiser than all these Roshei Yeshivos, that you are insisting the masses on the street need to educate. Are these Roshei Yeshivos less wise than the masses reading this letter of yours?

  2. “this is the biggest tzara facing Klal Yisroel..”

    Seriously? Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I would respectfully submit that the global threat of rising anti-semitism, large percentages of the Tzibur unable to afford decent housing and health care, rising terrorism and internal political strife in EY are all existential tzoros in comparison to this overhyped “crisis.

  3. Gadol, antisemitism is a way smaller issue than this crisis I work in a girls school and see the tzara first hand even if you don’t like the tone of the letter , sympathize with the issue… the challenge is that many are getting married and did nothing diff. So it’s a puzzle that needs kohen venavee

  4. The system needs to be monetized. Totally STRUCTURED similar to the real estate model with MONETARY incentive. Once the platform is set up and the structure is in place only then, with HaShem’s help will we see a dynamic shift and a self-perpetuating system that will improve on its own.

  5. Just to add. I have the strongest sympathies for the lettter writer. Parents are in extreme torment at witnessing the biological clock of their daughters ticking away and the emunah / bitachon of their daughters is tested as well. This is a very serious situation. I would add that if you have pictures of your marrieds posted all over your kitchen maybe you should bite your tongue.

  6. “ indisputable fact”

    What makes this an indisputable fact? In my opinion the shidduch crisis is a by product of many other crises (which people are too squeamish to discuss) that manifest themselves into various other aspects of Yiddishkeit including, yes, the infamous shidduch crisis.

    I disputed this supposed “fact” in the Coffee Room with a poster, AZ, who credited himself with discovering the age gap theory and founding NASI. He was never able to explain why my theory was wrong, he just listed the ever growing number of Roshei Yeshivos that signed on to his theory. (Although when I went to my Rosh Yeshiva to discuss it I was told that he didn’t either believe in the theory or sign on to Kol Koreh.)

  7. When at least 50% – 75% of the Bochrim out there aren’t “good enough” for our choshuve 19 year old maidels who were brainwashed for a year in seminary (at a cost of $20k – $35k that many of us had to borrow and couldn’t afford, but she “had to go, cause otherwise she would be a total loser and neb”) that they must marry the future Rosh yeshivas, and these parents have large family of kids at home and can barely support the long term learning eidim , no wonder we have a total Shidduch crisis

    Lower the girls standards, and there will be no more shidduch crisis

  8. I didn’t know or hear that there was a recent meeting about the possible age gap problem. However, I did hear that the Chassidishe velt is experiencing a shidduch crisis of their own, where boys can’t find shidduchim (shadchanim are being offered thousands of dollars to find shidduchim for 22+ year old buchrim). And the Chassidim don’t have an age gap, so it’s not an age gap problem. But it does point to the possibility that the assumption that the shidduch issue is age-gap related may be incorrect. Perhaps people should call the senior Roshei Yeshiva and point this out, so that they have all the facts when discussing possible solutions.

  9. With all due respect to the above commentators. You write about knowing better than Roshei Yeshivos…… all the Gedolim in Israel sent a letter more than 10 years ago imploring Bochurim to start Shidduchim in the USA younger. Rav Elyashiv, Rav Shteinman, Rav Chaim Kanievsky and Rav Shmuel Auerbach. It fell on deaf ears…….. unfortunately we have to realize that this problem exists in the Litvish community in the USA. It does NOT exist in the Litvish community in Israel. Before you post insensitive comments. Realize this is Dinnim of Nefashos which the Gedolim told us the solution to bring the Bochurim back earlier from Israel and stop the freezer policies of the USA Yeshivos. We are creating so many catastrophes by allowing the Bochurim to start Shidduchim so late.

  10. It is from the false beuty that this happens when they think much of they’re beuty and its importance there is no teaching of bitterness as family and life only sweets and sugar

  11. There is no shidduch crisis!
    That’s motzei shem ra on the Abeshter
    Who do you think gave you a child???? The same one who gave you that child can give them a shidduch.
    We don’t need boys girls shadchanim etc.!!we need hashem yishtabach shemo.

  12. Thank you to the letter writer for stating the unadulterated truth and attempting to do something to solve this horrendous situation. Please completely ignore the fools who have posted above that there is no crisis etc…anyone with 1/4 of a brain understands the crisis is real and yes this issue affects more people in klal yisroel than perhaps any other. The only solution as stated is to close the age gap. No other point will resolve this issue as the amounts of people in the parsha will be uneven. Not more shadchanim, not throwing money at it, not being more or less picky, not even davening more as explained by R Elya Ber.

  13. Volunteer several hours a week to make shiduchim as I try to do. Not tooting my own horn. Instead of being frustrated take the bull by the horns and actively search for your friends daughters or sons, your coworkers, your widowed or divorced friend. I was investing in making shiduchim long before end kids were in the pasha, while working a money paying job. Its not about the shiduch gelt that motivates me (maybe it works out at 10 c an hour for all the hours I invest) its the happiness knowing you had a hand in creating new families. Even if few and far between and trust me I dont have the midas touch but I spend many many hours that go to nothing, but when I am zoche to success, having a couple thank you for “giving me life” its worth all the fails.

  14. Wackyway: well said!
    When the parents & children will stop being all mr & mrs perfect & only marry perfect then there will no longer be a shidduch crisis! Lower your standards, stop spending borrowed $ on unnecessary, brainwashed seminary & stop this freezer idea. The chasidishe oilam does not go to seminary and they are not missing anything. Much hatzlach, siyata dishmaya & mazel tov!

  15. there are 2 issues , the process & the end result
    some facts first
    anyone who has had a boy & a girl in shiddduchim will tell u that for they were drowning in resumes & yet for their daughter was a name here and there ( so this is not about being picky, its not even a gelt issue…) maybe its because the boy gets the resume first..
    CHASSIDIM- for many many reasons this is not even remotely as a big an issue
    the question is that if u look at any graduating class & see who got married , when it wasnt necessarily yichus, looks & gelt who went like hot cakes & the ” nebs ” last finally each boy can only marry one girl so everytime there is a chosson there is a kallah

  16. While I’m reading many good points and ideas, at the end of the day you can implement all of them and you would still have a shidduch crisis if there is a disparity in the age at which the men and women start to date. It’s mathematics and you can’t get away from it no matter if you’re in denial.

  17. If we accept that there is a shidduch crises and that the age gap is the culprit, how will settling for less help the situation? There will still be a percentage of girls who don’t have boys to marry!

  18. My own humble opinion. A well structured platform with guaranteed monetary compensation will cause more people to become professional shadchannim, will cause shadchannim to bang down the doors of yeshivos and seminaries, and, IY”H, will ultimately cause market equilibrium and will do much to solve the crisis.

  19. Perhaps the shidduch crisis is merely a small part of the high-cost-of-Frum-life crisis. Consider these annual costs for a family of 6 kids and 2 parents:

    1. Yeshiva tuition – $60,000
    2. Kosher food for 8 – $150,000
    3. Annualized simcha costs – $2,500
    4. Summer activities for kids – $42,000.

    There’s the crisis – over $250,000 per year, without housing or college or kollel for sons-in-law.

  20. We do not question Daas Torah, we dont “lobby” or “protest” our chachamim THEY know better and its a little bit troubling when someone says that roshei yeshiva dont know what is going on in the world. it is known that women are always younger on average than men when getting married so dont understand this whole age gap theory. We follow the rabbanim not the reverse.

  21. Dear a Yid with a Heart,
    If you would sign your name, I would call you to tell you about my normal, well-adjusted serious learning 25 year old bochur’s difficulties with getting girls his own to age agree to a second or third date. After consulting with his Rosh Yeshiva, I am moving on to younger girls. Sorry, I tried. I remain trusting in Hashem that my bochur will find his bashert.

  22. its the easiest thing to blame on age gap because then there is really nothing to do
    look at the system where every boy who cannot recite the brachos of the haftora at his aufruf
    will be learning and supported for 5 years minimum
    is the issue
    take support out of the equation and most of your problems are solved

    30 years ago when i was dating there was no crisis
    because no one learned full time for more than a year
    so support was never an issue
    the yeshivas along with the rosh hayeshivas
    have created a monster
    which they cant control anymore

    same reason why there is a huge shortage of girl teachers

    no boy learning in kolel will look at a resume of a girl that will be a teacher as he needs a therapist to support him

  23. My wife had looks, yichus, middos, and her father was very well to do. She was in shidduchim for four years but was too picky to accept any of the highly regarded boys that she dated. Eventually it became clear that the caliber of boys she was being set up with was consistently dropping and that she had missed many prime opportunities. Because the years had passed her by, she had to lower her standards and settle for much less than she deserved. If each prized girl today would just stop this mishigas of holding out a bit longer for a slightly better boy, she could possibly avoid the lifelong disappointment of eventually being forced to settle for a much less desirable boy, and it would likely dampen or even eradicate what today is being called the shiduch crisis.

  24. Dear Lakewood bt

    Does Rav Elya Ber not Daas Torah?! How about Rav Elyashiv and Rav Chaim?! How dare you attack the letter writer for not following daas torah??
    Furthermore, When you have a daughter 30 and others 28, 26, 24 etc will you also not question daas torah??
    Additionally, does every yungerman who opened a yeshiva because he knows how to learn Birchas Shmuel automatically have daas torah?
    Stop the baloney and do something for klal yisroel. Stop defending the indefensible. We are proudly a nation that when we see something wrong we respectfully approach whoever it is and have a discussion with them. You may only learn Birchas Shmuel so you dont know that Yisro approached Moshe Rabbeinu to let him know of a problem and he is actually given credit for that. Stop the crazy blind faith

  25. Some comments here are ridiculous, irresponsible and plain stupid
    If one has an older boy I bless him that he find a shidduch quickly but does that minimize the girls crisis?
    What does the chassidish boys crisis have to do with this?! The chassidim are trying to deal with their issues.
    High cost of living is an issue but that has nothing with the shortage of boys due to the age gap.
    Monetary compensation for shadchonim, more shadchonim etc. are great ideas but in the end it will not add boys to the pool.
    The facts are as Shlomy Lewenstein says, that most girls are not looking for perfect and they are not getting any dates. So why do senseless, irresponsible people keep on saying that this is the issue?!

  26. Huju move to boro Park
    Camp is 3000 a full summer and that’s full price
    Tuition elementary is 4500 at the most expensive cheder in BP
    Normal bar mitzva package, 50 couples 3300 all included hall.. real dishes, cutlets..waiters…
    Vort pakages 2500 and up hakol bakol

  27. I implore all the commenters to please STOP, STOP, STOP saying things about pickiness, cost of living, more shadchonim, other crisises. Please READ, READ, READ before you comment. There are a different AMOUNT of boys and girls available due to boys marrying into a younger larger pool. How in the world will any other factor other than supplying more boys (i.e marrying them off at a younger age similar to the girls age to keep the numbers equal) solve the problem. We are dealing with a mathematical equation here. Stop whining about other things that have no impact whatsoever on this issue. There is only one possible solution mathematically unless we remove the cherem of Rabbeinu Gershon as R Elya Ber so eloquently explained.

  28. So the writer of this letter can very well be Reb Pogrow from NASI, just hiding under a different title.

    If the girls and their parents have not yet mobilized to postpone dating until age 21 over the last 20 years, then they themselves have essentially ruled that they have no crisis.

    He says that there were discussions but no conclusions. What do we want them to do exactly? Why does all the responsibility fall on the boys and their Rosh Yeshivas, if the girls won’t do anything about their own supposed crisis?

    The link posted takes you to a discussion between Reb Barnett and Rav Wachtfogel, in which Rav Wachtfogel is simply reacting to what is being told to him and that he himself has not done the homework. In this interview, he makes clear that his world is South Fallsberg, Brisk, and Lakewood. He also makes clear that he has no other Rosh Yeshivas with him. As well, Rabbi Barnett makes clear that The Lakewood Rosh Yeshivas challenged him about why he is the only one concerned with this and no one else, thus showing that most don’t seem to find this a real crisis. Moreover, the diagram placed in front of Rav Wachgtrogel just shows how many girls are still around beyond certain ages, but does not mention how many boys still are still available. So the diagram itself is very misleading and white-washing.

    I also caution boys and their parents to be aware of several studies and statistics that recently came out showing that there are enough boys for all the girls, just not the ones they want. The study also underscores that if we were to have boys start earlier then we would be unloading too many boys into the market against fewer girls, and we would end up like the Chasidim with too few girls and not enough boys. Bear in mind that the chassidim have their boys starting at age 19 and take older girls with no problem just like NASI says to do, and those very dating patterns result them in a very tangible reverse crisis of not enough girls.

    So parents of boys and girls, check things out for yourself and don’t trust just any letter writer, especially if this caring Yid can’t give his real name.

  29. As someone who has been involved with trying to make shidduchim, the crisis is the the fact that suggestions are often rejected immediately with a “not shayich,” though real reason is given. I am not sure who is to blame but I have a feeling it’s the mothers who are responsible for accepting or rejecting suggestions and until the parties involved go back to a time when they were contacted and dealt with directly, the “crisis” will get only worse.

  30. Mr. Alteh-Bucher
    May you find a shidduch quickly!
    Sorry to say but you are lying.
    Rav Elya Ber is very clear that he is very familiar with the subject and he says exactly what he believes needs to happen. He even says that he attempted to implement it in the past.
    FYI Rav Malkiel, for one, is totally on board that the age gap is the problem and he feels that the entire system needs to change asap.

    Moshe from Midwood: You obviously have no daughter or other relative in shidduchim. If you would, you would know that the issue almost always is not the girls saying no rather that shidduchim are simply not being suggested and there are no boys to come by. I am sure that you are a great shadchan but R’ Lewenstein has a bit more experience than you. Listen to what he says.

  31. Isn’t an obvious (though not easy) solution to convince all the girls to wait another 2 years until they start dating? Has that been suggested already?
    Why rely on the boys to make such a drastic change when they are not the ones in the inferior position? Take the bull by the horns and make a movement to have the girls start dating later and they will improve their position on their own. They just need unity to get it done

  32. Sol,

    If R. Malkiel, Shlita is totally on board, why hasn’t he shut down the freezer and signed a public letter that all of BMG should start dating earlier?

  33. Reb Sol,

    Here is who is not on board with the age gap problem: The community of girls themselves.

    Because if they were on board, then they would have mobilized to cut out 50 % of the age gap problem by postponing dating till age 21.

    Every girl in my neighborhood and shull is BH married off or engaged, and the few that are still single are in their high 20s and 30s. They say that they are holding on and waiting for professionals like doctors and lawyers, or they are staying put.

    As far as your kind whiches for me, thank you very much!

  34. For anyone thinking that the issue is, that the gender numbers are not even. Without counting, This is a logical fallacy- according to that,if that’s the main reason, there should be 0 left- or close to it-of one of the genders,

  35. i just wanted to mention that throughout the ages men have always been on average 0-5 years older than the woman they were marrying. so if the problem is a numbers thing (the “age-gap theory”) then why is it only such a problem now as opposed to any time in the past 2000 years?

  36. Mr. Alteh-Bochur

    You are being ridiculous because there is no such thing as a community of girls. Each girl is battling this alone. If gedolim want to get together and work on making such a tekonoh I am all for it but so far nothing is being done.
    Regarding your shul; all I can say is that you obviously are not part of a young community in Lakewood NJ because the numbers here are very different than what you are seeing and they are totally frightening. While I am very happy that all is well in your shul I would humbly suggest that you stop commenting on an issue that you are totally unfamiliar with since you are basing your comments on your very lucky shul.

    Regarding Rav Malkiel, he obviously feels that the three months in the freezer is very necessary for the hatzolcho of the learning in the yeshiva and he believes that it is not the cause of the problem rather the bochurim should come to BMG earlier, however that needs to happen. Be that as it may, he is not in denial on the cause of the problem and is very concerned about it.

  37. Mr. Sol

    They are trying to round up all the guys and tell them all when to start dating, so let them suggest to all the girls to push off dating by two years, and knock out half the age gap problem. If NASI and the others have not done this then they should not order the guys around either.

    The BMG freezer has no bearing on the shidduch crisis at all. It’s three months whole thing, and when the girls come home in the summer they have rights to all the current guys because come summer time all the guys who came after Pesach have become unfrozen come summertime. So what do the girls want? The new guys coming next year and the year after that. They want to get their hands on the new crops without having to wait three months for it since they already ruled out all the other guys from previous years including those that came to market at the same time that they did.

    Many shadchanim including Mrs. Chana Rose have already written that the girls do most of the rejecting after the first date, So even if the girls are having a harder time getting to date number 1, things very quickly balance out after that.

    It’s all three neighborhoods that I live next to and all the shul’s that have no problems with girls getting married, not just my shul. Also my family and my workplace, all the daughters are married by 22-23.

    Guys starting at 21 will overload the system with boys for not enough girls, and the guys will be begging for any date with any girl just like the Chassidim are experiencing currently both on the singles and certainly in the divorce market.

    Boys and parents of boys. If you want there to be too many of you against too few girls, then listen to whatever NASI and Mr. Sol tell you to do.

  38. > throughout the ages men have always been on average 0-5 years older

    Throughout history, the pattern was for women to marry when they reach maturity (sometimes 11-12) and for men to marry when they accumulated financial resources to support the family (20-30 and later).

    In many time periods, population growth was slow (high birth rate + high death rate in childhood), so number of people of different ages was the same. Now, B’H Jewish community has high birth rate and low child death rate, so there are different number of people of different ages.

  39. in that case everyone should get married young then

    women should aim for 17 and men 18-20

    if everyone matured quickly and did that, klal yisroel would be much better off

  40. These do-gooders are all frauds. The reporting is false. It’s two letters from Eretz Yisroel. These letters are over ten years old. One is calling to get married young. the other is a generic call to help girls get married. It could mean finances as much as anything else. And all the signees are no longer with us.

    Would the YWN publish a letter allowing for boys to learn until twenty five so that the entire world can be upheld?

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