Sunday, February 21, 2010

Girls Not To Date Until 21-22?

Rumor has it that a large Orthodox Jewish community in the yeshivish world will be coming out with an announcement this week, instructing its girls not to date until the ages of 21-22 for three primary reasons:
  • To quell some of the shidduch "crisis", by evening out the number of available men and women and by reducing the average age gap, and also to reduce the pressure on girls
  • To help the women be established with college degrees to better be able to support their families (particularly husbands who are in klei kodesh fields or in kollel).
  • To reduce what seems to be a major factor in the high, growing divorce rate in the Orthodox Jewish community.
If this is true, it is a) fascinating b) surprising and c) a huge step in the right direction, even if it's a strange one with a couple its own, possibly flawed assumptions.


  1. i doubt even if true this will actually solve anything (ie it sounds impractical), but i admit my first reaction to this was, "dang! four years too late!"

  2. Unless you change both sides of the equation, males and females, then what will be gained?

  3. I feel like this won't change anything.

  4. btw how's your niece dina sora doing?? i'm still davenning for her...

  5. The only reason that makes sense without going against their defacto hashkafos is the first and third. The second reason is someones cynical opinion of the matter. Many in the more yeshivish world view going to college as a Bedieved, so they would not instruct people to change dating habits to do so.

    As an aside, there was an announcement like this (instructing girls not to date until after 20) around sukkos time. I asked a Rebbe who would have been asked to sign how come he didn't. His response: "Because you should go out with a shidduch that makes sense. Whether she is below that age, or above your own age."

    Personally, all these fixes that people are trying to make based on statistical distribution of the birth rate, to me seem like a chisaron in people's bitachon in hashem. Like he didn't figure out that there would be that many more girls than boys. The FACT is, that in the yeshivish community there are that many more girls than boys. Just take a look at the school statistics. Where I grew up, if you added the 2 boys schools classes together VS. the one BY class of parallel grades, you still had a numbers discrepancy of more than 10 girls. (for all math majors, I understand that this is a sampling of the population, and other cities can have the reverse)

    I don't claim to have the answer, but telling individuals to make the sacrifice of waiting longer for marriage for the communal need of not having the crisis seems to be wrong in my mind.

  6. Forget about those reasons, I don't mean to offend anyone who got married young: 18-20, but I think 21-22 is a better age in terms of maturity, in terms of knowing who YOU are.

    A girl that age has been out of school and seminary long enough to have to define herself in terms of her own beliefs and values rather than just what her high school or seminary taught, because they are not constantly around to remind her of their derech.

    Going a little off tangent, if girls would start dating later and getting married later, I think the Kollel lifestyle and the whole support system would shrink significantly.

    I find that as girls get older, they veer away from the "forever learn, forever support" type, and look for something more compatible with their own current lifestyle,someone who will learn a few years, someone who is in college, someone who is working... this is because of what I stated previously, they've had enough time to reconcile between who they are and what they've been girls getting married older may help another issue.

  7. The last point is a flawed assumption. Maturity, not age, is the larger issue. If someone is ready at 19-20, then they should be allowed to get married; if someone is not ready, they should have to wait until they are. Unfortunately, we as a community have forgotten the concept of "chanoch l'naar al pi darko" and we are so into conformity that either everyone gets married at 19 or everyone gets married at 22, and G-d forbid we should just do things on a case-by-case basis and do what's right by each individual.

  8. this is not an allows/ not allowed, "torah m'sinai", press-conference, announcement. It is more a hashkafah, of a community that has a kollel and a lot of boys learning in the kollel, who want to marry the 19 year old girls because they can. Some of these 19 year old's are not ready to get married, but because of "community pressure" they/their parents feel they have too. This announcement will show the parents that they can wait to "give their babies away" and will show the boys that marrying older girls is ok. I know that at least in the community where the rabbaneim make the announcement there will def. be a feeling of less pressure and maybe girls who don't really want to get married (so young) won't and a lot of issues will be resolved!

  9. Fudge - LOL

    ProfK - Huh?

    Erachet - We'll see...

    Anon - Perhaps it was a different writer on SerandEz?

    Harry-er - It was specifically listed as a reason. Perhaps the original wording wasn't college per se but schooling, but it was specifically 3 reasons.

    I agree that the changing of ages won't make a solution itself, but see what my next comment is on this.

    Sporadic - Agreed; that's most of what I'm going to say.

    Dvorak - Agreed, though I think it's more of a mentality shift than a "you can't!" ruling.

    Serach - Right.

  10. All - I think this announcement (if it happens) is far more about how it changes people's perceptions than anything else. If people don't feel a pressure to marry off their daughters at 18-20, then it changes how they approach everything from the end of HS to the time they're 20 - they'll be more forward thinking in terms of preparing them to help support a family (kollel or not) instead of shidduchim directly. What a girl does post seminary will matter far more than seminary itself.

    In addition, the girls themselves will be far different - only those truly dedicated to a kollel lifestyle will still be interested two-three years after seminary, which will help cut out stresses and divorces on top of reducing the number of people in kollel and the like (things which create an overall economic stress on the community).

    Moreover, while people can (and possibly should) still date if there's a great match even at 20, particularly in the yeshivish community where they're unlikely to have already met (well, wink wink), then it will reduce the pressure of accepting ideas/offers when the girl is under 21 because she won't be "behind the game". There would simply be far less such matches suggested, let alone pursued.

  11. For most young women, 20-21 is about five years to early to start seriously thinking about marriage. People change a lot in their 20s and yeshivish people in particular know absolutely nothing about who they should marry.

  12. Back to the subject of Anon's question, Ezzie, I remember the post about Dina Sora bat Shayna Mira. Someone (I also thought it was you) asked us to daven for his niece, who had leukemia. Does anyone else remember this? I have also been wondering how she is doing.

  13. Mystery solved -

    The post was by Squooshball.

  14. But who is Squooshball? Does he or she have a blog? How can I find out how this little girl is doing?

  15. Thank you for continuing to daven for my niece, Dina Sora bas Shayna Mira. She still has leukemia, but is baruch Hashem beginning to get a bit better. Every day seems to bring another challenge, but we appreciate your [continued] tefillos.

  16. Very interesting... did this ever turn out to be true?