Shidduch Crisis: Types of Red Tape Causing Blockages

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By Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin MA

Director: Jewish Professionals Institute www.jpi.org
Email: rudomin@jpi.org

A few recent articles published on MATZAV.com have zeroed in on one type of “red tape” situation in the American Torah world that many feel is causing a “blockage” in the over-all world of shidduchim.

It is known by a nickname, meaning a type of “lockdown” that is expected of some talmidim.

The authorities have instituted this required delay in allowing their students to date in order to avoid the disruption of having hundreds of bochurim going on shidduch dates to the detriment of the orderliness required in the Yeshiva’s Bais Medrash.

This lockdown period lasting a few months from the time the bochurim return form learning Torah at yeshivos in Israel is also meant to help the students adjust from the type of hardier environment they lived in while away from home living in far of dormitories on the other side of the world mostly in the Yerushalayim area.

The lockdown time is useful then in reacclimating the students to life back in America where they and their families will also soon turn their attention to the arduous task of hopefully finding great shidduchim with wonderful bnos Yisroel who are eager to date and marry the fresh crops of bochurim who are released from the confines of the lockdown when they begin to officially date in full force once the lockdown-blockade is lifted after a few months.

This is the basic technical clinical picture of this unique phenomenon. To be sure, this time of lockdown is not applied by all yeshivos. In Brooklyn yeshivos, it is not used or spoken about, unless parents and families themselves decide to utilize a time for re-acclimating their sons and daughters when they return from the year or two of Torah learning in Israel.

Yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs in the New York City area do not have this system of freezing-locking down or formally and officially restricting or structuring when their dating-age students may or may not go out on shidduch dates. But some larger yeshivos in New Jersey do require adherence to this rule and few students and their families are willing to buck that system in those places.

But according to the strong response from readers and the frum public affected by this lockdown of dating age gochurim, there is frustration that it causes painful delays and harms the natural flow of seeking a spouse in the Torah world.

There are other types of red tape that have added layers of bureaucracy stifling the natural flow of human interactions by the over-formalized and structured methods that have crept into the dating process in American chareidi circles.

The shidduch resume has become both a useful tool to “see and be seen” so to speak, while it has also created layers of “paperwork” of writing, typing, mailing, faxing, emailing, to multiple shadchanim, to both friends and strangers, that drives parents of dating age boys and girls crazy. Gone are the days of word of mouth for most people. Now not only is a shidduch resume a must, but flattering photos must be attached.

Another form of red tape is the list of expectations required of many families before anyone will go out with their sons or daughters.

Parents of girls must prove how they will support for “ten years.” Some parents are required to provide “life-support forever.”

Girls are expected to be “skinny, thin and pretty,” creating a proverbial straitjacket because not every female can meet these expectations. So frum girls are subjected to this type of red tape, as they try to starve and fashion themselves into looking just right for Mr. Right.

These are not my personal points, but they are examples of the type of menacing red tape and unnatural blockages that people complain about all the time, and that stops people from having normal communications and human expectations and interactions to be able to connect with each other without being weighed down by all sorts of extrinsically imposed artificial stoppages of the natural flow that the shidduch process should take on for itself to avoid contributing to the converse, the notorious shidduch Crisis.

To be continued…

{Matzav.com}

18 COMMENTS

  1. The lockdown rule has been in effect for close to 30 years. I was part of it as well and had no problem with it. Didn’t slow things down for anyone back then, not boys and not girls.

  2. #1- No one is forced to attend these yeshivos to only become ‘confined’ by its ‘red tape’. A conscious decision is made to attend these yeshivos and to adhere to its rules. If that is the decision of the bochur in question his future wife will be very happy with it.

    Aside from following the rules of the yeshiva they attend, many people see the logic of a ‘lockdown’ as it enables them to start shidduchim with the very important state of mind known as ‘yishuv hadaas’.

    #2 The resume never takes the place of ‘word of mouth’ it simply serves as a starting point as well as a system for keeping shidduchim organized.

    ( In many cases pictures are uncalled for, but they can at times serve a purpose.)

  3. “But some larger yeshivos in New Jersey do require adherence to this rule and few students and their families are willing to buck that system in those places.”

    The remedy is simple for the “lock down”. Simply go to a different Yeshiva. No one is forcing any bochur to any yeshiva.
    to the “few students and their families are willing to buck that system in those places”. Great chinuch. We preach to our children to respect and “show” honor to the heads of yeshivos and then turn around and basically tell our children that while we send you to that yeshiva, don’t listen to them because we know better. That is a great way to lay a foundation in building a bayis neeman B’Yisdroe.Give our leaders lip service only, and go behind their backs when we don’t agree.

        • Those are two seprate issues! Not listening to a parentssuggestions on a particular shiddech is one thing. But when to start dating is not a choice of who to marry its a choice of if. not who its a choice of when. Big difference.

  4. As far as the topic of Yeshivos and the lockdown rule, I understand them completely. If they would just allow bachurim to enter a Zman whenever they pleased and start dating whenever they pleased, the Yeshiva would turn into a total joke hefker velt. The Bais medrash would be empty most of the time and would lose its sheim Yeshiva. If a Yeshiva is to be called a “Yeshiva”, you must have structure. If you want to just have a holding place, then just rent a big lobby of some hotel somewhere and bachurim can come and plunk themselves down over there.
    Now the question is, why do bachurim/parents have this mindset that only if you attend certain placed after Israel, will you get a good Shidduch? I know there are a few Yeshivos in Monsey that cater to boys coming back from Eretz Yisroel but they are a minority. Why can’t we establish more of such Yeshivos? It would reduce the stress and pressure on BOTH the boys and the girls. I know the Mir Yerushalayim had wanted to open a branch right here in New York. But that was many years ago. Maybe it’s time we relook at that option.

  5. Please do a survey of actual parents in different neighborhoods. I think you are just looking at people responding to your articles which is definitely skewed. I think when you write that “People complain about all the time” is not necessarily accurate.
    I am a parent of both “boys and girls” who have been in shidduchim for many years, with some married, and some who have still not found their bahsert, and do not agree with any of the points you mentioned.
    The freezer is a good idea, and if you don’t like it you can go to a different yeshiva.
    Also, we never expect girls to starve themselves to look right for Mr. Right.
    In addition, I think resumes are a good idea. Years ago, each time you spoke to a shadchan you both had to spend time writing down the basic information each time. Whoever thought of putting it down on paper did so simply to save time on giving over the basics, such as name, parents name, yeshivas or school attended and references. It is much more convenient than giving over the information each time. I don’t think it “drives parents of dating age boys and girls crazy”. On the contrary, it is a tremendous time saver. It does not lose the personal touch, because the resume is only to be used for this basic information. What the person is looking for, and the maalos of the young woman/man ( not “boys and girsl”) that the shadchan thinks would make a good match for your child is still done personally!

    This is my opinion, and I think is shared by many people out there who do not necessarily read Matzav, or other internet blogs.

    thank you

  6. I left out your point that parents of girsl must “prove how they will support for ten years” An absolute lie!! Who said so? Many people are asked if they can support and what the details are, but I was never asked to “Prove ” anything!

    all of your points sound like they are just motze sheim ra on klal yisroel!

  7. The leadership must either take charge or step down and let others lead. Between all these man-made school, shiduch and parnosa crises, we don’t want to let the entire system implode. There were times when people left Yidishkeit in mass, let’s not let it happen again.

  8. Every time I read mishpacha magazine or go on Matzav or Yeshiva world news — another Shidduch crisis article. All I know is that my daughters friend tell her that people have been calling about her; the menahel of Byla also said he has been asked but yet no calls .
    This is what I think is the real problem — not enough shadachan in other cities . I think what needs to be done is the following :
    Have two women in all the Bais Yaakov cities interview the girls ; then once a month fly into Lakewood yeshivas and meet with the shadachan that know the boys. I would be willing at my own expense to fly out on a regular basis to help out not only my daughter; but all the fine girls here in Los Angeles . I want to help be part of a solution . My email frumtutor@gmail.com

  9. It is a very good policy for the boys, they have a foundation in the yeshiva where they plan on learning for a few years. If they start dating as soon as they get there they never settle and don’t know anyone or anything until they get married and settle. Much harder to do that when married. Yes the girls want the boys to start right away but there is more to life than dating…

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