Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Elbows & Tefillin Dates

Eliezer StrongBad sent me a really good piece from Guernica by a freelance journalist by the name of Corinne Ramey on the singles scene predominantly in Washington Heights, but really discussing the approach and subsequent difficulties of dating as a single Orthodox young adult. It's a fast read, but does a good job of giving over what it's like. Excerpt from In Search of a Modest Proposal:
The denizens of the singles community in Washington Heights are largely Modern Orthodox Jews. They dress conservatively, and all men attend prayer services three times a day. Every Sabbath, from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday, they don’t use electricity, write, drive, or take public transportation. They don’t rip toilet paper, use umbrellas, take photos, or talk on cell phones. Every day, they keep kosher and obey dietary restrictions, including using separate dishes and silverware for meat and milk items.

When it comes to dating, they believe that touching creates an intense emotional bond and can cloud the judgment of both parties. And besides, not being able to touch often speeds along the process of dating and engagement, leading to quicker courtships and earlier marriages. Although singles say that keeping shomer negiah isn’t always easy—and that they’re certainly curious about the physical side of relationships—most said they felt it kept them from becoming irrationally attached to a partner. “Aside from the fact that it’s much harder to set limits within having physical contact, it’s also that when you do have it, it makes you see the person through rose-colored glasses,” said Kuznetsov.
It's a really good read - check it out.


  1. I also read the article, and can we, for once, kill the rumor of the tefillin dates?

    They are sensational, yes, but patently untrue. If you look at it logically, anyone who is frum enough to want to daven wearing tefillin is either a) not sleeping over, b) davens with a minyan, and therefore leaves his tefillin at shul, or c) goes home to lay tefillin, since he has to get changed before work anyway.

    I've lived on the UWS for seven years dated, and gotten married, and neither I, nor any of my friends have ever heard of anyone ACTUALLY going on such a date.

    I know someone will rebut with "but my friend's cousins' sister once had a friend who went on one." That is the basis of urban legend. Maybe these dates used to happen, but they certainly don't anymore.

  2. There may be a few inaccuracies in this piece but it tries to directly address a serious issue that deserves real discussion and confrontation in the Modern Orthodox world. The pressure on young women (particularly) to marry young shapes and restricts choices, and becomes an unspoken burden for many brilliant and desirable women; the rules of the "system" exacerbate the problem of meeting someone in a natural, relaxed setting. Thanks, Ezzie, for bringing this piece and this issue to the fore.