Fixing the System: Your Best Suggestion

There have been many suggestions for how to fix the “shidduch system”, but Lawyer’s “coming out” ball idea caught me in a curious mood. What other odd ideas for marrying people off are floating around out there?

For those who have no idea what that is (Just4U, this is Just4U), in formal high society, young ladies coming of age were (“are” according to Wikipedia) referred to as “debutantes” (debs for short), and they “came out” into society at a ball. If their parents were rich or important enough, at their own ball; if not, then at a debutante ball, where they’d be formally presented to society among a line of debs, all dressed in white. All the fashionable young men would stand on the side and gaze, and then ask them to dance. And thus matches were made. (You might say Cinderella stole the show at a debutante ball.)

It sounds suspiciously like dancing on hilltops at Tu B’Av to me. But solutions to problems often come from radical ideas. So, just for the fun of it, what’s your best idea for fixing the system? Post below your best or your strangest.

PS: I’m going to be out all morning at least, so I’m turning off moderation so you can comment away in my absence. Please behave.

Advertisements

89 thoughts on “Fixing the System: Your Best Suggestion

  1. hey cool she’s not around! what should I say about b4s? hmmm… what’s some good gosip about her… I once saw her at a wedding with her hair down.. now everyone goooooooooosssssiiiiiiipppppp!

  2. I think mechanchim and mechanchos of Bais Yaakovs and Yeshivos should get together for one grand shidduch meeting. How about that?

  3. “So, just for the fun of it, what’s your best idea for fixing the system?”

    How about you go first?
    See, it’s easy to poke holes in what is already out there but much harder to actually put forth a better option.

  4. Um, wouldn’t this be a problem in terms of being shomer negiah? If dancing with dudes works for you, you might as well meet a husband the old fashioned way – meeting guys at school and sharing a meal.

  5. Name tags & numbers. Then all the guys walk by you in a line and you write down which numbers you’re interested in interviewing further.

    Or G-d could just create us with best friend necklaces. And you have to see who’s necklace half fits with yours.

  6. Ok, with no moderation…

    There is no way to change the system without changing the whole lifestyle. Thus, it is well known that the important things in shidduchim are the mem’s – mamon, mishpacha, mar’eh (money, family and looks). The reason they are important for shidduchim is because they are important for life. For example, who becomes roshei yeshiva or rabbanim in shuls or schools? Relatives of current or past roshei yeshiva or rabbanim – independent of merit. Who gets honored at dinners and in society in general? The people who have worked little in order to spend time learning (which is is the professed highest goal) or those who have money? Obviously those who have money. Can someone be given a kibbud in a shul without the right style/color hat? Of course not, that violates how one should look.

    How does this effect shidduchim? Let’s say some guy in Touro wants to go out with B4S. Logic would dictate that he should strike up a conversation with her, get to know her a little bit, and then – based on how they interact, how they treat each other and their approaches towards what’s important in life, (maybe a little checking up) etc. – they can both make informed decisions about whether to extend the relationship. Of course, this is strictly forbidden because B4S cannot know his family’s yichus, wealth and true ‘frumkeit’ without an interrogation of neighbors, rebbeim with the attached problem of figuring out how much everyone is stretching the truth, and so on. And so B4S goes out on dates where after 3 seconds it is clear this is not meant to be.

    This does not mean that setting people up is a bad idea. It’s done even in the non-Jewish world. But we should change focus in shidduchim and in life to people’s middos (a different mem) rather than the mem’s discussed above. At the minimum we wouldn’t have to worry about people lying about height, age, and so on.

    So, good luck with the revolution and let me know how it turns out…

  7. I don’t know what would be a practical solution, other than cutting out the parents from the process.

    Parents have to much invested interest to be impartial. Probably much better to have someone in each community or block or something whose job is to get to know people well (and become friends), so that they can then get together with their corisponding people from other blocks/yeshivot, bais yaakovs etc. in a big party and just basicaly gossip amoungst themselves until they hit upon a match, at which point they should dissengage from the rest of the party and criticaly examine the match to determine if its worth putting forward. No calling around, bar all between the two of them. If they like the match, they suggest it to the couple (at the same time, but seperately) and they thereby make matches.

    But I think that the key aspect to fixing the system is getting the parents out of it.

  8. I would like to posit that we can improve the probability of dates developing into engagements by instituting shidduchim based on compatibility of comprehensive personality evaluations. This would eliminate a great deal of those “going nowhere” dates and the meaningless background checking. But who am I to talk about dates going nowhere, as I don’t get any in the first place.

  9. The major problem with any proposed revision of the shidduch system is that the system works well for most (say 70-80%)of the people who use it.

    Furthermore, the very aspects of the system that make it very difficult for some people are often the things that make it work for others (e.g. deep parental involvement, heavy screening, pressure to get engaged and not date too long, etc.).

    This does not mean that the system should not be changed or cannot be improved, but I think the most useful changes would be adjustments around the edges of the current system, rather than a revolutionary overhaul.

    Any proposed replacement system has to work at least as well as what we have now. Fixing the problems with the current system while creating new ones is just going to move the problem around, not solve it.

  10. “it is well known that the important things in shidduchim are the mem’s – mamon, mishpacha, mar’eh (money, family and looks).”
    ===============

    You forgot two.

    Middos & Moach (character and brains)

  11. G, that’s my point – in how things stand now middos are not really that important (read the whole post)… And moach is a definite negative for girls…

  12. Weeeeell, we could try the Chassidish way. It apparently works better than our system: one sit-in with your chosson and off to the wedding.

    Or we could try the modern Orthodox way, which also works better than our system: let boys and girls talk to each other (gasp) and possibly find people they want to marry on their own.

  13. this isnt my idea, but i think its great!

    ” Instead of the above scenario, a shadchan would propose a match between two singles. The shadchan would then say, “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.” ”
    link

  14. Somewhat Anonymous,

    What a rational, non-reactionary, non-combative and generally level-headed and forward thinking approach.

    Huh, what are you doing here? 😉

  15. Of course, this is strictly forbidden because B4S cannot know his family’s yichus, wealth and true ‘frumkeit’ without an interrogation of neighbors, rebbeim with the attached problem of figuring out how much everyone is stretching the truth, and so on.

    I think you have it backwards. People “check up” on prospective shidduchs not because they wish to find out info that cannot be acquired through meeting and talking with the person, but because they can’t meet and talk with the person. Going over to a member of the opposite sex is strongly frowned upon in Chareidi society, partly for Halachic reasons. So people are forced to use imperfect proxies such as a references to find out information about a shidduch.

    But I agree that the system cannot be changed without the underlying culture dramatically shifting. As long as guys and girls cannot meet “normally” the shidduch system is basically the best possible system out there.

    The major problem with any proposed revision of the shidduch system is that the system works well for most (say 70-80%)of the people who use it.

    Define “works well.” If you mean it leads to marriages, then the best system would be arranged and compulsory marriages. Everyone would get married that way.

    My shul’s rabbi growing up once argued that dating is unnecessary because in the Chassidish world no one dates, and they have the lowest rate of divorce among Orthodox groups. The flaw in his argument is he’s ignoring the high exit costs in that community, meaning getting a divorce in the Chassidish world is more difficult than in other segments of the Orthodox world, so the low instances of divorce are not indicative of happy marriages.

    The shidduch system does not necessarily lead to happy marriages at a high rate; it leads to marriages. But as I said above, there’s no way to change that without a dramatic shift in Chareidi and RWMO culture.

  16. If Touro College would combine their men’s and women’s divisions so that male and female students would take classes together, we would see a huge rise in shidduchim here in New York.

  17. Actually Nephtuli, it would an interesting historically to see which came first – not being able to talk to the opposite gender or having to check out the sources first. But I challenge your assertion that it’s a halachic issue. Why is talking to a girl on a date (which one assumes is for the purpose of marriage) better halachically than going over to a girl and talking to her to see if maybe she would make a good wife?

    BTW, you can go to yutorah.org and hear R’ M. Tendler talk about how he met his wife in the public library… (for those who don’t know that would R’ Moshe Feinstein’s daughter).

  18. If Touro College would combine their men’s and women’s divisions so that male and female students would take classes together, we would see a huge rise in shidduchim here in New York.

    No we wouldn’t because a large number of Yeshiva guys would stop going to Touro.

    Actually Nephtuli, it would an interesting historically to see which came first – not being able to talk to the opposite gender or having to check out the sources first.

    It’s a good historical question, but today there is no doubt that causal meetings between men and women are strongly frowned upon in even the Right Wing Modern Orthodox World. How many serious guys in the YU Beis met their wives at a singles event?

    Why is talking to a girl on a date (which one assumes is for the purpose of marriage) better halachically than going over to a girl and talking to her to see if maybe she would make a good wife?

    The Rambam says it’s assur to get married without a shadchan. I’ve heard people take this very seriously.

    Overall, I agree with you that, halachically, meeting seems allowed, but it “past nisht” in most Orthodox circles.

  19. neftuli, it really doesn’t matter what the rambam says on the subject.

    However, that does press me into deciding to look up the halacha in the talmud (its in kiddushin, I just dont’ know where)

    so I’ll look at it and get back to you.

  20. Nephtuli –

    “Define “works well.””

    Defined Terms:

    “Works Well” shall mean leads to Happy marriages, without Undue Hardship, at a High Rate.

    “Happy” shall mean leading to long-term satisfaction.

    “High Rate” shall mean a rate which is greater than the lesser of (i) sixty-six percent (66%) of the marriage age population (including those already married) or such other percentage of the marriage age as is reasonably acceptable to the commenters on this blog or (ii) the rate of Happy marriages reasonably expected to be generated by currently existing alternative systems if utilized in the current orthodox social context.

    “Undue Hardship” shall mean any of (i) a continuous serious dating period of longer than five (5) years, (ii) a dating process that leaves the dater bitter and jaded (particularly if such bitterness persists after marriage) or(iii) a dating process that leads to serious embarrassment on the part of the dater on a not irregular basis.

  21. Nephtuli –

    “Define “works well.””

    Defined Terms:

    “Works Well” shall mean leads to Happy marriages, without Undue Hardship, at a High Rate.

    “Happy” shall mean leading to long-term satisfaction.

    “High Rate” shall mean a rate which is greater than the lesser of (i) sixty-six percent (66%) of the marriage age population (including those already married) or such other percentage of the marriage age as is reasonably acceptable to the commenters on this blog or (ii) the rate of Happy marriages reasonably expected to be generated by currently existing alternative systems if utilized in the current orthodox social context.

    “Undue Hardship” shall mean any of (i) a continuous serious dating period of longer than five (5) years, (ii) a dating process that leaves the dater bitter and jaded (particularly if such bitterness persists after marriage) or(iii) a dating process that leads to serious embarrassment on the part of the dater on a not irregular basis.

  22. Nephtuli the Rambam you quoted is Ishus 3:29 on machon mamre. The Rambam says not to get married ‘b’li shidduch.’ Look up shidduch as the gmara uses it – it has nothing to do with a shadchan…

  23. neftuli, we don’t pasken like the rambam, and noone respectable has paskened like him in 6 or 700 years.

    We pasken like the tur and shulchan aruch.

  24. After reading all the comments I am becoming convinced that my friend may have had the best solution to solving the problems in shidduch making today. You put all the single men and women into one room. You show them your AK 47, loaded and ready to shoot. You start the clock and tell everyone that they have 20 minutes to meet, greet and get engaged. Anyone not engaged after 20 minutes will be shot. And no, it isn’t any worse than what is in place today. And it nicely solves the shidduch crisis since it eliminates all singles who don’t toe the line. And it works, too. My chasidishe cousin came home from high school to be told by her mother to change her clothes and do her hair since she had a mazel tov coming to her–she was getting engaged that night. If that isn’t putting a gun to someone’s head then I don’t know what is.

  25. The Tur paskens according to the Rambam, the Rosh, and the Rif (if I recall correctly), so the Rambam is a heavyweight.

    G – I have no suggestions. I have no bones with the system. But I do like great ideas for fixing it.

    And thank you all for behaving.

  26. Actually ProfK the gmara tells us that this was done by Cleopatra (I think that was the queen). She lined up her female and male servants and just paired them off. After a rather difficult evening she admitted to Chazal’s wisdom that HaShem Himself spends time making shidduchim… So, I’m not sure your friend is correct…

  27. in the practicaly sense, his work is utterly useless.

    profk,

    do you think we could have a little bit more time, like maybe instead say that there should be, starting in 20 minutes a line of couples so and so many feel long waiting to leave the door engaged. When the line ceases to be that long, nomore couples will be made, those couples in the room will leave, and everyone still present will be shot.

  28. bad4, thats exactly why his work is entirely useless, other than as a tool for helping you understand the bais yosef (not the tur) and we don’t even psak like the bais yosef but like the rama, so he’s even less usefull to us.

    There are hundreds of halachot in the rambam that we don’t psak like, and everysingle time someone quotes him for a psak, and doesn’t quote the shulchan aruch, I get edgy and wonder if they’re covering up for the fact that the other two, the rosh and the rif dissagree with him.

  29. Given your definition, do you believe that the shidduch system “works well?” It generates a high percentage of marriages, but evidence do we have that they are happy? Intuitively, marriages should be happier the better the parties know each other going into the marriage. The more information they have, the better chance they are compatible.

    But as I said before, I don’t see any way to lengthen those periods given the societal constraints.

  30. for instance, he states outright that its permitted for a husband to beat his wife. The rema (on the basis of the bais yosef and other works) psaks that this is absolutely catagoricaly forbiden for anyreason whatsoever, and that it is the way of non-jews, not jews.

    Thats just one example.

    Plus giving psak from his work without knowing the underlying reasonings is downright dangerous. Theres a halacha that read in its simple sense would tend to imply that one should rather die than talk to a woman, but the things is that if you read his source in the gemorah, it isn’t that way at all, and the rational for the law makes that clear.

    His work is downright dangerous for someone ignorant to study it, and a total waste of time until you have a good handle on halacha according to your authorities, so it doesn’t give you strange and halachicaly idiotic ideas. (such as neftuli got above)

  31. neftuli, we don’t pasken like the rambam, and noone respectable has paskened like him in 6 or 700 years.

    We pasken like the tur and shulchan aruch.

    The Yeminite community paskins like the Rambam, so this is wrong. Moreover, as Bad4 pointed out, the SA chose the consensus of the Rif, Rosh, and Rambam when deciding Halacha, so he’s a pretty big deal. Do I really need to convince you of the Rambam’s importance?

    I don’t know if the SA brings this down L’Halacha, but the fact the Rambam said it is given weight when there are no opposing opinions. I don’t think anyone would say a person must have a shadchan, but people certainly take his opinion seriously.

  32. “If Touro College would combine their men’s and women’s divisions so that male and female students would take classes together, we would see a huge rise in shidduchim here in New York.”

    so people in the rest of the world are getting married more easily and quicker and less painfully???

    it makes no difference whether you date someone for 10 years or for 10 minutes, there are bad marriages and good marriages that come out of both. people live together for years and years, get married, and get divorced within 6 months, others get married thru a shidduch and get divorced within 6 months.. and then there are others who date 10 weeks or 10 years and live happily ever after.
    the question isnt whether shidduch dating is better than any other type of dating – thats a question of philosophy. the question is – within the shidduch system, what are improvements that can be made.

  33. nephtuli, the fact that he is used as a basis for the shuclhan aruch is the exact cause of his irrelivance.

    Which means, that, every single oppinion of his that is halacha, is in the shulchan aruch. If it is not in the shulchan aruch, it is not halacha. If shulchan aruch is silent on an issue that he comments on and assurs, it means that the shuclhan aruch does not hold that it is assur, because the the shulchan aruch would have quoted him.

  34. nephtuli, the fact that he is used as a basis for the shuclhan aruch is the exact cause of his irrelivance.

    Which means, that, every single oppinion of his that is halacha, is in the shulchan aruch. If it is not in the shulchan aruch, it is not halacha. If shulchan aruch is silent on an issue that he comments on and assurs, it means that the shuclhan aruch does not hold that it is assur, because the the shulchan aruch would have quoted him.

    Not necessarily. One could understand it that way, but he doesn’t have to. The point is that the Rambam is arguably the greatest Rishon and his opinions are taken very seriously, whether or not the SA quotes him or not.

  35. First off, I wholeheartedly agree with Superraizy’s assessment that a huge improvement would result from combining the men’s and women’s divisions of Touro.

    But seriously, in order to approach this problem, we need to look at the root cause. I believe the root cause is that our community is “dancing at two weddings” (tantst af tsvey chasennes). We have one foot to the left as we are not like the Chasidim where the children are “married off” by parents who are the main factors, with the children just giving their late-stage approval-whether by choice or not. And we have the other foot on the right as we frown upon singles meeting in the casual modern-secular way. This gives rise to this ridiculous research, most of which, while essential to the Hasidic process, is almost useless in ours as the information of undetermined veracity gleaned from research-usually false but sometimes true-can be truthfully determined in a face-to-face meeting of less than twenty minutes. Features such as background, intelligence, education, plans, physical appearance, etc. are much more efficiently judged in person than by word-of-mouth.

    In light of this, I think we really need to deemphasize research and introduce some kind of structured mechanism for singles to meet and make this broken system work more efficiently.

  36. dearest yoni please do us all a favor and keep your vendettas to yourself. I for one would much rather read the relevant and wholesome comments without having to scroll through your personal agendas which, by the way, are tripe and an affront to the holy Rambam. Before I throw you into a shark-with-lasers-on-their-heads infested pool.

  37. I’m going to answer with a comment I made to a friend a few nights ago. He commented that the “system works well for a lot of people”. I agreed. The problem is for those for whom it doesn’t work.

    The answer: The ‘system’ should be an option, not compulsory.

    I think that would pretty much solve it. Make sense to anyone?

  38. “The answer: The ’system’ should be an option, not compulsory.”

    Oh, please. It is only as compulsory as one chooses it to be.

  39. “G – I have no suggestions. I have no bones with the system”

    LOL, sure ;^)

    & correct, the SA always rules like the majority btwn the Rif, Rash and Rambam (referred to as the Gimmel Amudei Hora’ah

  40. As usual, great post, b4s.

    I’m in total agreement with CG and ProfK (although we could probably do without the machine guns).

    For those wishing to stay within the comfy confines of the shidduch system, some evolutionary – not necessarily revolutionary – creativity needs to be applied….and I’ve always believed that a structured mass meeting is the way to go. Maybe something along the lines of speed dating, where couples meet for five minutes at a time, then move on to the next person.

    I think we need to get over our needless obssession with privacy in order for this to succeed. There should be no stigma in attending a semi-private event.

    Benefits:

    Efficiency – A speed-dating mechanism would enable many people to meet without wasting time

    Fun – Brief introductions would keep things interesting

    Frequency – Mass meeting need to be held regularly

    Fairness – People would be assured of meeting more people than if they were at a party or within shidduch system

    Supervision – Shadchanim or newly marrieds could make introductions or host

    Assurance – Participants would be pre-screened, a little like Dor Yishorim

    For the really hip parties, there might be an option for Pictionary or Scrabble (with newly marrieds or shadchunim making the rounds)…where participants can get to know prospects a little better in a less pressurized setting. It’s like child psycho play-therapy; people are more likely to open up when doing another activity.

    Formal dates would follow after these speed dating sessions; few would necessarily know who chose whom.

    Discuss.

  41. Oh, please. It is only as compulsory as one chooses it to be.

    Oh, please. Think community and/or parents. (Unless you’re arguing that nothing is compulsory if you’re willing to throw it all away, which is a completely different thing.) Even with my parents, who could barely give a darn, nothing was ‘that simple’ when it came to how I met Serach and got married.

  42. (Unless you’re arguing that nothing is compulsory if you’re willing to throw it all away, which is a completely different thing.)
    =========

    Riiiiiiiiight, ’cause that’s what the result would be in most families.

    No dice, not buyin’ that reality outside of the really super orthodox world.

  43. Riiiiiiiiight, ’cause that’s what the result would be in most families.

    No dice, not buyin’ that reality outside of the really super orthodox world.

    Oh? Then why aren’t more eschewing the system more often? [I’m assuming you’ll argue that most prefer it in general, but they should at least be doing both.]

  44. As a note, I’ll often ask people for fun after they talk about a specific guy/girl why they don’t just ask them out, and the most common response is something along the lines of [shrug/sigh] “I don’t/it doesn’t work that way.”

  45. Fine, after a convo with G, to clarify:

    Strike “(Unless you’re arguing that nothing is compulsory if you’re willing to throw it all away, which is a completely different thing.)” and insert:

    “Unless you’re arguing that nothing is compulsory if you’re willing to take that communal ‘hit’ and how family/friends/et al react, how that affects your future prospects within that world, etc. Which is a nice way of saying compulsory anyway.”

  46. Fair enough.

    That does not change the reality that one uses that system to the degree that they choose to, or do not choose to.

  47. …and therein lies the problem.

    It’s like when an in-law says “I just think you should…” or when a Rebbe says “Well, why don’t you…” Sure, you can say no*, BUT…

    [I suggest people try this more often when they think it’s best, but nobody really listens. Sigh. The consequences are not nearly as bad as people imagine.]

  48. Isn’t Tu B’Av one of the happiest days ever? But still, a debutante ball reeks of the “boy do I have a good piece of meat for you” in the shidduch system. Not that I have any better ideas… <.<

  49. Don’t have the time to read all the comments. Best case solution and least likely: throwback to the good old days when people actually went to college and met there. Most realistic solution: Give them as many opportunities to mix and meet as possible. Center them around Chesed. Allow for mixed packing locations for Tomchei Shabbos. Allow for mixed group visits to hospitals and nursing homes on Shabbos. Mixed envelope-stuffing parties for Chesed organizations, mixed after-school tutoring for Yeshiva kids who need the extra help, offering clubs to teach chess, musical instruments. The singles would be teaching and also meeting each other while noticing the talents of those in the room. I could go on, but I think these are actually doable goals. Oh, and stop all the useless Shidduch meetings which slow the process down and hardly ever contribute much. I think that it takes the energies of well-meaning marrieds and misdirects them completely.

  50. I know there are those who will say that the Yeshiva world won’t allow it. What if you reach out to the nursing homes and Shuls first. Ask for what they need and then publicize opportunities to fill those needs with the understanding that single men and women will be permitted to work together. Then, only those whose parents and who themselves will feel comfortable will attend. The commitment required will be that you accomplish your Chesed and that you attend in order to do so. Any matchmaking or dating will be up to the parties involved and merely a byproduct of the actual Chesed opportunities. No Shadchans, no ice-breakers, no awkward Shabatons, just opportunities to meet. Then, as you continue your involvement, even if you don’t get great dates from it, you know you are helping people anyway. This also takes away the “loser” stigma that many singles fear when they attend a singles’ event. They don’t want to be seen as or feel like a loser and they don’t want to meet a bunch of losers. Here it is not at all about them and the energy is about helping others, even if everyone understands that there is a hope to meet a bashert.

  51. Oh, and you aren’t charging them for anything. I hate that singles are always being squeezed for money at every turn.

  52. Useless shidduch meetings? If every shidduch group or circle would make, through its members, only 5 shidduchim per year–and the number is way higher in some, that would be about 200 shidduchim per year that come into being. Don’t know what percentage that is of the total number of shidduchim per year, but removing that percentage would sure not make things better.

  53. I completely and totally agree with Ezzie. The shidduch system is fine…but if it’s not working for you, you should have the option of opting out without being looked down upon by others.

  54. SIS,

    Yes, you SHOULD have that option.

    However, you cannot control how other people will react to an action that you take. You CAN control whether or not you allow that possible (and not guaranteed) reaction to determine your decisions. If there is something that you truly wish to do, or not do, and have sound reasons…live the Nike life and just do it.

    I don’t understand why some (not you specifically) people always view this as an all or nothing proposition. There are varying degrees to which one can “toe the party line”. One needs to find their comfort zone and work within it.

  55. I still like the Deb ball. My mother is all for a shidduch-island, where you cannot leave until you pick a mate. Hehe. And EVERYONE must go there when they come “of-age”.

  56. First off, I’d like to agree with what was said here already- I think that there is no point in throwing off a shidduch system as a whole, but to refine it to exclude all the externalities and superficialities that exists there today. Also, that there should be less stigma and more of an option to do it the natural way.

    BUT!!!!!

    To do it the way someone suggested, to merge the men’s and women
    s classes of Touro, is NOT THE WAY. We as a nation stand on our *tznius*. The relationship between man and woman stands on a pedestal so exalted it should not be watered down to a mere platonic relationship or everyday exposure. Yes, we have to be normal, and yes, if you meet someone you think is a good match then go ahead, but it should STILL be done in the ways of tznius. This is our middah that our non-Jews do not understand and it safeguards the relationship and the respect between man and woman. To throw that all away and mix us wholeheartedly would be to SELL OURSELVES SHORT.

  57. I agree with Strength–there should be proper, tzanua/modest ways for men and women to meet, and doing Chessed together is certainly an excellent example. My husband and I met while serving on shul committees together.

    Let me throw in my two cents here, for what it’s worth. I know a number of current and former Touro students, graduates, and employees, as well as a number of current and former Yeshiva University students, grads, & employees. The biggest difference I personally see between the two schools, which both have separate classes for men and women, is that YU goes out of its way to provide wholesome social opportunities, such as a university-wide student publication, at which men and women can meet, whereas Touro seems to go out of its way to make sure that men and women never meet at all, if possible. I once remarked to a Touro grad that a man could go to Touro’s Lander College for Men (Queens) and a woman to Lander College for Women (Manhattan) for four whole years and never meet each other even once. I think Touro’s policy is quite shortsighted.

    Generally, I find fault with any system that expects men and women to get married but doesn’t provide proper, tzanua opportunities for them to get to know one another. What’s wrong with a man and a woman being in the same room at the same time and actually talking to one another, as long as they’re not alone together? Also, I think that one sees more of the “real” person in a real-life situation, such as paying bikkur cholim visits or serving on committees together, than on a date. I think that doing Chessed together, such as visiting nursing homes or doing volunteer work for a shul, is a better way for men and women to get to know one another than the shidduch system. I second Strength’s idea.

  58. I think you and many others are forgetting one little detail: Touro is a college, not a matchmaking agency. As such, they cater to the whims of the community they serve, and those people do not want too many opportunities for mixing. That said, any Touro club or society can be mixed, but it just rarely happens, because there’s such a dichotomy between the studies pursued by men and women. The pre-med Science Society is on exception, and they have coed meetings every now and then.

  59. YU isn’t a matchmaking agency, either, but that certainly hasn’t prevented it from providing extracurricular activities for its students that just so happen to mix the men and the women.

    I am happy to hear that Touro has a mixed Science Society. To be honest, I didn’t know that any mixed activities were even permitted.

  60. The mixed activities at Touro aren’t permitted. The few that there are, the administration “looks the other way.” Heaven help the college if the roshei hayeshiva actually found out about such activities. YU always had the Chanukah and Purim chagigot that were for students of Stern and YU together. There were lectures that were for students of both schools. The girls from Stern would frequently go up to YU to eat in their cafeteria–and see and be seen. Every Stern girl knew which rabbi at YU was available to help with a shidduch with a YU boy. The Stern girls could use the YU library, which was so much bigger than theirs. Thursday night at Madison Square Garden was an open ice skating night and it was known as “YU night.” It is not by accident that so many Stern girls married YU College boys. The percentage was and is higher than the number of Touro boys who marry Touro girls.

  61. Touro doesn’t actually have any mixed activities, at least not official ones. The administration looks the other way at the rare coed group. Heaven help the college if the roshei hayeshiva ever found out about coed anything.

    YU was always concerned about shidduchim and their students. The Chanukah and Purim chagigot were coed. The lectures were coed. The Stern girls frequently went uptown and ate in the YU cafeteria–to see and be seen. The Stern girls often used the YU library, which was larger than their own. Every Stern girl knew which rabbi at YU was available to help with a shidduch with a YU boy. Thursday night at Madison Square Garden was an open skating night and it was known as “YU/Stern night.” The percentage of Stern girls who got married and marry YU boys is way higher than the percentage of Touro boys who marry Touro girls.

  62. “Touro doesn’t actually have any mixed activities, at least not official ones.”

    Why am I not surprised?

    “The percentage of Stern girls who got married and marry YU boys is way higher than the percentage of Touro boys who marry Touro girls.”

    Again, why am I not surprised?

  63. G.,

    Agree that it’s not an all-or-nothing equation, but I think b4s is looking to work within the confines of the shidduch system, for better or for worse, because it will eventually produce a guy who is a good match for her. It has been known to happen. (really)

    Personally, I didn’t use the shidduch system when I was looking to get married – I subscribe to a modern Orthodox approach – but can understand the social pressure to follow the shidduch system, having been raised in that milieau.

    That’s part of the reason that I think people should wait, if possible, a little longer before dating for marriage. Someone who is older will have the confidence to step outside the strict strictures of the system, while still adhering to halacha as best they can.

    But don’t be irritated with b4s for subscribing to a system she would like to use, even if her search will take a little longer. She would like to take a yeshivish approach, and you know what? That’s ok.

  64. Ahem!! You can go to the Touro on Ave J, where boys and girls use the same building (different days/hours) for four years and still not meet each other there… (I went to Touro- I would know)

    About the co-ed meetings, lectures, etc…. I have to say that I am very ambivalent about this topic becasue it involves a lot of factors.

    I left a post here about how bnei Yisrael stands on its tsnius, and how to just mix the genders wholeheartedly without a backward glance would be to sell ourselves short. And in a way, it is. Tsnius is such an exalted state of being- it’s one of Klal Yisrael’s very unique qualities and its value is immeasurable. Those who follow its precepts (of their own accord and with their own understanding and volition, not if they are keeping something they don’t understand to fit into the society around them) are content, satisifed, blessed, and healthy.

    On the other hand, I do feel that when both sides are mature individuals, they can communicate and mingle with each other in a resposible, mature, and YES- tsnius fashion. It is well known that men and women have the ability to communicate to each other as human beings and lead a happy, healthy life while having interactions wiht the other gender. NOT that I encourage it, not that I push for it- I believe that for the quality of our one special relationship, it should be LIMITED. Again, I believe that when one comes to a certian level of maturity, one knows how to conduct oneself in a NORMAL, friendly, non-hostile, and open manner without crossing the bounds of tsnius, which again, I emphasize, is klal Yisrael’s unique trait and a true kli machzik bracha.

    I think that, unfortunately, that this whole issue is not being explained nor handled very well by the educators and parents of the Brooklyn yeshiva community. As an educator myself, and the daughter of two wonderful yet very human parents, I see how well-meaning people unfortunately are simply not knowledgeable enough nor equipped with the right tools to handle this topic and explain it to thier kids and students in the right healthy way, where the kids won’t be falling over their feet running after members of the opposite gender or at best, drooling over anyone with a skirt/pair of pants, which unfortunatley is the result of an unhealthy way of dealing with the situation today.

    We need this topic to be approached by people who are knowledgable in the healthy mindest reagrding men/women communications to explin to parents and educators how to raise their kids with an awareness of tsnius without making them only desire the forbidden.

    I think that with the attitude we have today, to mix the boys and girls classes of YU and Touro would not be a good idea even in terms of healthy relationship wise- I don’t know how good any of us are. Obviously we mature as we grow, and definitely the older girls and boys of Touro/YU are more stabilized and less tongue-hanging-out-of-mouth (oh, and PS- I am describing my (hopefully) former self here… 🙂 )- maybe what we can do is a 25 and up coed classes, which is what you have once they get out of undergraduate anyway…. Ok, 22, then. But the rate of maturation is very individual (if ever! 😉 ), and to put boys and girls who aren;t ready for each other together… disaster waiting to happen.

    But even with that being said, I still think that men and women together should NOT be a common thing.

    The chesed idea I believe was a good idea but honestly- I wouldn’t advocate it for the crows that doesn’t already do that stuff anyway. I come from the Brooklyn yeshivish attitude, I appreciate the modesty of the system, I appreciate the seriousness of the dating, I appreciate the marriage-orientedness and rational approach to matches- a lot of what has been blogged here has been very cynical. While there are many things that have gotten out of hand in the shidduch system, I truly beilve that it is a wonderful system designed to save a lot of messy headaches and needless heartaches- which it does. The idea of approaching a shidduch with the mind and not the heart makes for smoother coasting. Once the logical part is set in place, the heart can accomppany it.

  65. I wouldn’t advocate it for the crows that doesn’t already do that stuff anyway.

    I meant the “crowds”, sorry. I was laughing when I read that- don’t want it to be misunderstood.

  66. The idea of approaching a shidduch with the mind and not the heart makes for smoother coasting.

    Indeed? Keep this in mind: it is a lot easier to change your mind then to change your heart. We have evidence of just how much easier in the truly horrendous divorce rate among yeshivish couples. Unless there is an emotional kesher tying a couple together from the beginning all the rationality in the world won’t help.

    “rational approach to matches”–were that approach all that rational there would be far less cynicism being exhibited here and out in the real world.

  67. ProfK, what you’re saying about the “were there be rational approaches” is true, and a very good observation.

    What I meant by saying that the shidduch system approaches things with a rational mind and thus makes for smoother coasting is that I think it is sensless to go out with someone with whom you share no similiar life goals. Personality I think is something that has to click- I don’t think you can say that you are looking for a specific type of perosnality becasue it very much depends on the two indiiduals. But why take the risk of falling in love with someone when your lifestyle and goal in life will be very different? The shidduch system says: We don’t have to do this to them. Let’s set two people up that have similar lifestyles and goals in life, and see if they can work out! And THEN they can fall in love with each other, gezenterheit!

    Not that I think there is such a thing as falling in love. It should be “falling into attraction”. Love means caring for the other person- usually when a person say’s he’s fallen in love, it means he’s found the person who will take care of him! And not the other way around. You usually don’t have someone saying dreamy eyed- I’ve found the person I want to compromise with for the rest of my life…. I can’t wait to have arguements and be mad at each other and afterward peacefully reconcile with each other because I am commited to this relationhship and because I LOVE HIM and because I wand the best for him”- which, btw, should be an “us”- if you are committed to each other and truly love each other, then what mekes him happy is what makes you happy, and vica versa.

    When peeople say they are in love it’s SELF-LOVE they’re talking about, and actually exactly the opposite of what true love is.

    Not that I discourage emotion. I am known as an intensely emotional, loving, and romantic person (just ask bad4!! whom I am priveledged to know on a first hand ice cream (and she makes me pay for it!!!) basis). I just see from experience that following your emotions as leader instead of your brain leads you to do some stupid things…

  68. Not that I think there is such a thing as falling in love…When peeople say they are in love it’s SELF-LOVE they’re talking about, and actually exactly the opposite of what true love is…if you are committed to each other and truly love each other, then what mekes him happy is what makes you happy, and vica versa.

    Mindy,without knowing you or anything about you,I already know that you are not yet married. You may have thought about love, may have read about it, may have discussed it, you may even have observed it in others, but it is clear that you have not yet been married and experienced it. Engaged and then married people can, indeed, fall in love, and if they are truly lucky and blessed then they “keep on falling” for the rest of their married life. Love is not something that, having happened,remains exactly the same over the course of a marriage. It grows and changes along with the participants.

    And no, it is not what makes him happy that makes you happy–it is that he is happy that adds to your happiness. You don’t have to have a whit of interest in something that he does; you don’t have to understand it or why it gives him pleasure. That he finds pleasure in something is sufficient to bring you happiness. And vice versa. When you have been married as long as I have been, then please come back and post on what you know that love is. You may find that the practice is a lot different than the theory.

  69. As an aside, FWIW… my wife’s uncle (a dean at Touro) happily remarked that we were the first “Lander/Lander” couple he was aware of [Manhattan W and Lander M]. 🙂

  70. A whole year after a serious and practical disscussion and still no solution.

    Kinda like 98% of the meetings in corporate America but there at least you often get free lunch.

  71. Shabbos is approaching, so I wasn’t able to read through the comments…
    but before seeing them, I’d say it’s important to make more SOCIAL events, not SINGLE events, for people of age.

    A nearby Young Israel made some Motzei Shabbos bowling thing…sounded fun but they didn’t say the age, so I didn’t wanna show up to a buncha 12 year olds or 50 year olds, but if they would have said it was 18-25, I woulda gone, totally.

    More on this after Shabbos, Bli Neder…not like anyone’s holding their breath to hear my say 😉

  72. Probably being more flexible in terms of how religious and what particular form of Judaism would help everyone, and Shidduchim would be the least of everything.

    But in terms of Shidduchim, you can’t find people you respect without going out and meeting them. 90% of all people are crazy, but the key is recognize that you are part of their 90%. The fact that religious Jews have so much “in common” doesn’t really change that there is incredible variety among Bnei Adam, and most of you are jaded having been through “the system”. So, obviously, “the system” should be scrapped. Letting men and women mingle freely is a duh obvious for me, and so if you all want to complain about how that’s not tzinus or whatever, you’re going to come up with a system.

    And you won’t be able to, because marriage demands more from people more than ever. People are learning to ask more from a marriage partner, and when it works, people seem much happier for it. Like I would probably be able to “make it work” with a majority of people, I’ve got the empathy and social skills. “Problem” is, I want more.

  73. Heh- a year later- and no solution in sight.
    I agree with earlier posters- tznius is the backbone of Klal Yisroel- and it should be kept to. Those who wish to meet their spouses at other venues than the traditional shidduch system, should be allowed to- but they should realize that they will be viewed a certain way, as mixed gatherings, even those for Chesed- are frowned upon in the ‘Charedi’ community, but allowed in the MO community.
    How about not grilling every neighbor/friend/roommate/teacher/background/yichus expert before going out. How about going out more with unconventional suggestions?
    How about not looking for financial support and making do with less?
    How about not saying ‘no’ just because of a BT/Geirus/OTD/different Mahalech than you idea?
    I red shidduchim all the time, and I red from a large BT sect of the population. I find that I end up describing the guy, everything seems perfect, and then- boom- BT. No way.
    Sheesh. It’s depressing. And sometimes it isn’t the single- but the parents of the single, who are so judgemental.

  74. Oh- and also- how about advocating the R’ Samson Rafael Hirsh approach- marrying older girls to younger guys? R’ Paysach Krohn subscribes to that one- and has spoken about it at numerous occasions.

  75. Elitzur- some guys prefer girls with brains.

    Dr Evil- what Yoni said wasn’t all that bad. Let him alone. You [i]are[/i] evil..

    Yoni- parents do a service. They keep you out of trouble. However, that being said, they often get their heads up too high and think ‘richest, most beautiful, etc’ for their kid. But those with their heads on straight are invaluable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s