Case Study of the Correlation of “Approved” Behavior Patterns to Marriage Success in the Ultra Orthodox Community
Abstract: An Orthodox Jewish female was followed from when she became “of marriageable age” to see if her behavior patterns influenced the age at which she became engaged.
Females of marriageable age in the orthodox community feel themselves subject to many behavioral constraints (behavior including both deportment in public and patterns of dress). Behaving according to approved patterns (eg: “doing” hair before stepping outdoors, wearing dressy clothing daily, and not participating in activities considered unladylike) is believed to increase their “marryability” and therefore their chances of attaining a married state.
To ascertain the veracity of this widespread belief, we followed a subject randomly selected from the Flatbush community. Subject was an ultra orthodox female born, raised, and bred in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. Subject attended [xxx], an ordinary, local bais yaakov high school. Subject was 18 when study began and 22 when it concluded. Subject was followed unnoticed by “shadows” in white lab coats with turned up collars, white-framed sunglasses, and a wire in their ears insulated with white rubber. Said shadows surreptitiously followed the subject around the clock with minor exceptions (eg: showering, f’breezing socks, 3-hour telephone conversations, etc.), taking note of all her activities. Each activity was then classified into one of three categories: Good for Shidduchim, Bad for Shidduchim, and Neutral. When subject became engaged, the numbers were tallied and subjected to all sorts of painful statistical analysises (??) (eg: t tests, chi squares, controlling for a variables like weather, luck, persistent shadchan relatives, etc.) which are discussed further in the conclusion. Below are sample notes from the subjects file.
2004: Subject graduates high school but does not attend seminary in Israel. Is verified to be attending a local seminary with the intention of continuing into college the follow years.
Subject spotted racing a friend up the front stairs of the Museum of Natural History. Both collapse giggling on the top step.
2005: Due to monetary constraints, Subject attends a non-Jewish, mixed, college, where she has been seen exchanging the time of day with members of the other gender. Subject dresses daily in long skirts and polo shirts, as well as socks.
Subject spotted racing around and around in a revolving door in front of a Manhattan chain store until building personnel dismiss her. A relative stands at a distance pretending to be unrelated. Subject fails to care.
2006: Subject joins the Student Council at aforementioned college, where she occasionally has reason to fraternize with the enemy – er, correction, other elements. Subject is seen wearing ponytail daily.
Subject seen racing shopping carts in the aisle of Target in downtown Brooklyn. Several observers pretend not to notice, some of them Ultra Orthodox.
2007: Subject attempts to skateboard in the sporting goods section of the Wal Mart that services Lakewood. Subject crashed into display and must put it back together. Eight ultra-orthodox women passed by while she does so.
Subject spotted whizzing around Palisades Mall in one of the scooters made available for the handicapped – during chol hamoed.
2008: Subject seen playing catch in a toy store in Kings Plaza Mall, not knowing that a shadchan was browsing the Rubik’s cube selection in the next aisle.
Subject unaccountably engaged to young man from Flatbush.
Below see a sample table of the subjects behaviors classified.
|Good for Shidduchim||Bad for Shidduchim||Neutral|
|Dressed up and attended bar mitzvah in shul||Missed a family vort to study anatomy||Wore a powder blue suit to a wedding|
|Wore a black suit to a friend’s wedding||Tried to mail a pineapple from the Avenue J post office||Became pen pals with a child in India.|
|Visited a number of shadchanim||Didn’t wear makeup to a l’chaim||Did exceedingly well in her coursework|
|Wore a short skirt and tights every time she ventured into commercial Flatbush||Wore a college sweatshirt while taking out the garbage||Owns crocs|
While the subject became engaged somewhat after the generally considered optimal age of 21, statistical analysis finds the gap to be non-significant even when controlled for all possible variables, and several impossible ones. It does not seem like the subject’s behavior significantly inhibited her marriage prospects, however, further study on a larger cohort will be necessary to draw any serious conclusions.