‘The Shidduch Crisis: Causes and Cures’ by Psychologist Michael J. Salamon

I’m enjoying this book about finding a Jewish spouse. It has some great anecdotes, such as the one about a young man given the phone number for a young woman. When he dials, however, he finds the phone answered by her father who proceeds to grill him for 30 minutes. When the father’s done with the questioning, he says to the young man, "You can speak with my daughter now." The young man answered, "No, thank you" and hung up.

I love that!

A shadchan (matchmaker) to a mother of a young woman: "Does she wear a seatbelt in the car?"

Mother: "Of course."

Shachan: "Well, that could be a problem with this family."

Why would it be a problem? Because the seatbelt would accentuate the curve of her breasts and this could lead him to lose control of the wheel.

My friend Lewis was picked up after therapy by his mother.

"Cured yet?" she asked.

He replied, "Not till you’re dead."

Let’s talk about "fat potential." Too many of our fine young Jewish men talk about a woman’s dress size and her potential to gain weight once she marries and has children. In a Torah perspective, a woman’s looks are secondary to her moral character. I myself have no problem dating fatties.

Why do Orthodox Jews date outside the faith? Because it is easy. The pressure in Jewish life is just too intense. "What they are referring to is the interrogations that always seem to take place both before and during dating, along with the fear that they may not measure up to some standard that they see are arbitrary and irrelevant. They feel inadequate when faced with an unrealistic formula for acceptance that is impossible for most people to achieve. In their view a date should be a date, not an inquisition."

Unfortunately for me, the following is not true for Los Angeles (where there are many more single men than single women, the opposite situation from New York where most of our hot chicks go after graduating from YULA, Shalhevet, Bais Yaakov, etc):

FROM THE JERUSALEM POST, Dec. 20, 2005, by Stewart Weiss:

Men can date a much wider age-range of women; Jewish men tend to marry out in much greater numbers than women. Conversely, more females convert to Judaism than do men. Homosexuality takes many more men out of the pool than lesbianism.

While women crave commitment and seek to settle down, more and more men are content to date casually while avoiding any long-term, relationships. With the divorce rate hovering at 50%, many younger men are less than anxious to repeat their parents’ "mistake." Then there is the ebb and flow of population trends and baby booms.

"Populations tend to expand and contract throughout the generations," says statistician Steven Cohen, professor of Jewish social policy at HUC-JIR, "while male-female ratios change over the course of eras. There is no question that our generation is experiencing a clear numerical superiority of females over males."

…Jewish educators widely report that we are doing a much better job of educating and religiously sustaining our young women than our young men. So while the girls are either maintaining or increasing their spiritual level – attendance at women’s seminaries continues to grow apace – the boys tend to drop out of the Orthodox world in much higher numbers.

…And because it’s a "buyer’s market", I’ve even head anecdotes of men who ask their dates any question that comes to mind, from their father’s annual salary, to the girl’s – and her mother’s – personal measurements. More than one family has either hidden away or institutionalized a disabled or retarded child, so as not to scare off potential suitors. I’ve even heard that some parents offer men large sums of money to marry their daughters.

Dr. Salamon writes: "The shadchan wanted a picture of the girl’s grandmother. It seems that knowing the dress sizes of both the girl and her mother was not enough to assure a potential groom that the girl would not later become heavy because perhaps her mother lost weight for the sake of her daughter’ shidduch."

"It has been documented that in certain Chasidic groups, some young men actually faint when they are told what is expected of them sexually on their wedding night."

"The best predictor for success in relationships is similarity — of personality, emotional tone and personal outlook. Knowing whether a person will grow spiritually — as if there were a way to know the future! — or whether he or she is yeshivish modern or black hat does little to determine compatibility. Externals change, often very rapidly. Internal traits, such as personality, tend to change very little and last a lifetime."

"The more social exposure we have, the more likely we are to find a temperamentally similar, compatible partner."

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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