Tuesday, July 3, 2007

This Was Forwarded To Me By Shellie

I'm not usually accustomed to posting forwards, but I found this one particularly interesting. In section 3, I highly recommend reading the linked Chananya Weisman article as well....

Societal Suggestions to Alleviate the Shidduch Crisis
by Hillel Fendel

It has become commonplace to discuss the marriage crisis that exists in Jewish-religious society, wherein too many men and women who wish to be married are not. Various causes have been cited, largely having to do with Western values, over-choosiness, mis-matched potential partner pools, modern society, poor dating skills, and many more. While a proliferation of books, articles, seminars and more are offered to help singles improve their spouse-finding skills, the following article lists four methods that have been suggested as societal solutions. Far from exhaustive, the list is meant to foster discussion and action.

1. Community shabbatonim (Based on an article written by Jewish communal volunteer activist Michael Feldstein): Hold singles Shabbatonim not as a weekend hotel event with dozens and dozens of singles - but rather in a Jewish community with an active synagogue, and with activities and meals integrated with the community. Singles are divided up into groups of six - three males and three females - for Shabbat meals, which are held at host families' homes. This makes for a much more natural and less pressurized environment for singles to meet and mingle. The singles also participate in Sabbath prayers with the community, and participate in the rabbi's class and the Third Meal. In addition to cost benefits and other advantages, singles increase their networking opportunities by interacting with members of the community.

2. Chananya Weismann, founder of endthemadness.org, quoting his friend Zevi Adler, suggests that when "proposing a match between two singles, the shadchan (matchmaker) says, 'I am so confident that this is someone you should meet that I am giving you $20 to help pay for the date. If you decide to see this person again, give me back the $20. If you ultimately marry this person, then pay me $2,000.'” Advantages: a. The relationship between the single and the shadchan becomes a partnership infused with professionalism and mutual respect, instead of shadchan-single condescension. b. Once the shadchan has proven that s/he has carefully researched his/her suggestion, and is willing to put money on it, it will be reasonable to expect singles to invest their own time, money, and energy on the suggestion. c. It is a wise investment for the shadchan, who will save time and effort in having to persuade singles to go out on the date. After all, the single will say to himself, “If the shadchan is willing to take a chance, then I’ll take a chance on it, too.” More dates will result, the shadchan's success rate will increase, and the investment will pay for itself many times over. d. Shadchanim who are truly serious about their work will have no qualms about investing in their ideas, just as businessmen do on a regular basis. Those who are even marginally successful will not lose - they will get their money back - and are likely to be amply rewarded; those whose suggestions are rarely accepted for even a second date will go out of business, to everyone's advantage.

3. Mixed seating at weddings - as advocated in this article by Chananya Weismann. Rabbi Shlomo Riskin of Efrat writes that though separate-sex seating at a wedding ceremony is halakhically indicated, it can be inferred from Maimonides' ruling that mixed seating at a wedding feast is permitted. "There is another positive aspect to mixed seating at weddings," Rabbi Riskin concludes. "There are often many young single men and women, friends of the bride and groom, who, by sitting together, may meet and which could lead to more weddings, with G-d's help... It goes without saying that there must be a complete separation between men and women during the dancing." Rabbi Aaron Rakefet of Jerusalem has similarly been quoted as saying that those who eat Sabbath meals in mixed company should celebrate their weddings the same way. He cites the "revered Rabbi Yosef Breuer" as saying that "young people should sit together at weddings [because] mitzvah goreret mitzvah [the fulfillment of one commandment leads to the fulfillment of another]. We want people to make shiduchim [matches]. We want boys and girls to meet. We want dates to come out of this [wedding]."

4. Some leading Religious-Zionist Torah scholars in Israel have called for the lowering of the age of marriage. Rabbi Yehoshua Shapira, head of the increasingly popular Yeshivat Ramat Gan, recommends that boys marry before the age of 22, while Rabbi Eliezer Melamed - Yeshiva dean, community rabbi, Halakhic [Jewish legal] decisor, and facilitator of singles events - has recommended that young girls pass up the accepted year or two of post-high school national service in order to be able to marry earlier.

No comments: