The Matzav Shmoooze: The Age Gap Idea Hasn’t Work – Can We Move On?

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Dear Editor,

Recently, I have been wondering why we still hear about the shidduch crisis and why there are still organizations pushing to “close the age gap.” It has been well over a decade of very focused efforts to solve the crisis and it seems like more than enough time to solve it. If it has not been solved, then isn’t it time we ask ourselves if the current strategies will ever be successful?

There is an old quote that the definition of insanity is trying the same thing again and again and expecting different results. Do we really think that if we run just a few more ads or another kol koreh on that it will solve the crisis? If ads were the answer, weren’t the first 10,000 ads enough? Also, when will the plane of that poor bochur who is featured in the ads take off already?

If after all these years and efforts, there is still a crisis, then something is really not working. Don’t we need fresh ideas and new blood addressing the issue? Over the last 10-15 years, so many communal issues have been addressed in substantial and tangible ways, so many people have been helped, and so many families have a brighter day each and every day – all because of well-meaning people who delivered on a vision they had to help the yochid and the tzibbur. And yet the shidduch crisis is still sputtering at square one.

This is the season of outsiders making waves. Maybe we need an outsider to challenge the old thinking and the establishment, which has tried so hard to solve the shidduch crisis but seems not to have been successful.

There is another question we need to ask ourselves: What if the issues that cause the crisis are deeper than the age gap? Maybe, despite so many people’s best efforts, time and money, closing the age gap is not the solution. This does not negate the sechar of those who tried, but it might be time for them to focus their efforts someplace else.

A Concerned Parent



  1. I couldn’t agree more! Whether or not there is merit to the age gap theory (I am leaning towards none), nothing is improving. Additionally, a part of the “crisis” is discussion of the crisis which only leads to a sense of eliteness and entitlement by the boys in the Parsha and their mothers. In my opinion I think that time has come for the whole “Shidduch crisis” to be dealt with in an altogether different manner. The time has come to stop putting ads in all the papers and to go forward with tzniyus. Everyone knows someone single and if they are able to then they should try redting him or her a Shidduch, but no need for any loud proclamations. The less of a hullabaloo centered on this topic, the more likely that all labeling will be dropped and both the boys and girls will be able to date without pressure and get to know each other in a faster and deeper way.

  2. the age gap argument does not work because girls with degrees and jobs are not interested in 22 year old buchrim

    • I agree with you!
      As I see many “very frum girls” with degrees that (because of it) are more knoledgeble than the boys they are redt to; making it very dificult for them to marry such tmimusdike boys but at the same time expecting them to be very toiradik.

  3. You are 100%. It doesn’t work. Don’t try to prove it by showing “statistics” of how many did marry equal to or above their age. (a) there was always some of that, and (b) the numbers are very low percentage-wise. You can’t talk a boy and/or his mother to look for older girls.
    But give credit where it is due – it may have accomplished taking away the negative opinons of many (and the accompanying “busha”).
    The answer is that people have to be more open, work on their “ga’ava”, and be more realistic.
    Older Litvishe/Yeshivish girls should listen to Chassidishe shidduchim also. They make good husbands and are also Bnei Torah.
    Parents – look yourself in the mirror. You are rejecting shidduchim that are no different then you are – but you rate yourself higher than that. The proof is that you are getting rejections from people similar to you (who also have a “ga’avah” problem).
    Not everyone needs (or deserves) the “best boy in BMG” (even though there are thousands of them). When you listen to the “requirements” for a shidduch, it reminds me of what the Satmar Rebbe z”l answered someone (after hearing their requirements) – “but you are loking for 5 shidduchim – look for only one”.
    Hatzlocho to everyone in shidduchim.

  4. Just talking about what’s better or worse doesn’t help anyone. Why focus on one theory over another?

    You can either think that nothing works or that everything works the choice is yours!

  5. The Age-Gap myth is in essence Kefira. Those who claim such nonsense are saying that even HKB”H cant help Kllal Yisroel out of this one. Its Hashems fault because HE created more girls than boys. HKB”H needs the input of a couple of cutting edge basar vidam’s to solve this “crises”. Such foolish idiots.
    Because of all this garbage, there was big centerfold ads in last week’s heimisha newspapers – Yated, Hamodia – explaining the REAL reasons these spoiled brat parents are not having their children married.

  6. Nobody intelligent thinks the age gap tm is a real cause.
    It is a way to pretend to work on fixing without addressing any real issues

  7. The system is so broken here in America. Thousands of families are not materializing. We stubbornly hold onto our mishigassen. We are our own worst enemies.

    Stop the madness.
    Start looking for your bashert.

  8. How would this dissuade those who believe in the age gap theory? Facts remain that even all the “Age is just a number ads” most boys still marry girls younger then them

  9. The write is write, or is it right? Either way, well said. Take the age gap and put it with the rotary telephones.

  10. the age gap is the biggest nonsense as when i was going out 30 years ago there was no crisis(there were allways those few who didnt marry)
    the issue is support and girls fathers cant afford it
    so they wait for next years crop

    when i went out the question was what does the boy do
    today its what does the girl do

    the chasidim dont have a crisis

    if you factor out support there would be alot more marriages

  11. May Hashem help all of you wake yourselves up from slumber to realize that no matter what-you think is crises-wake up
    already & realize that 40 days before a person is born his/her shidduch has already been chosen by Hashem (a person lives as a half person until s/he gets married, then you become a complete person)

    if you or hundreds of girls are not married yet that you feel should be, the time is obviously not right for you to get married. everyone goes through tests in life & this is one of them, turn to Hashem & daven for your zivug to be sent to you.

    • True. Davening is the answer (if its with all your heart. Useless if you still check or c”v use you cell phone then, or worse, talk during davening).
      But here is some sage and practical advice. Do not ever turn away a shidduch suggestion until you met the boy or girl !!! You may be suprised that he/she is much better than what you heard on the grapevine. After all, the shadchan thought it was a good idea and he/she may be right.
      Secondly, that shadchan is now frustrated with you and may no longer “red” you any shidduchim.
      Third, don’t ask your friends. They may have been rejected by them and will now poison you by telling you its not for you. And you just missed meeting your bashert.
      Parents, don’t ask your married or older children about the girl/boy that was “red”. They have their own agenda, and are not your best source of objective info. Do your own homework.

  12. Here’s the global solution: get rid of superficiality, be a real person and eved H. If this was to happen, then mimeila people would not be makpid on things just to be like everyone else; hence, they won’t be makpid on davka certain age, and davka certain seminary, and davka certain amount of shver support. Perhaps, some bochurim might be better off learning locally, instead of going to Eretz Isroel to be just like everyone else. Some might be better off not going to Kolel.

  13. The age gap is a real problem and its the only problem. I see that some comenters don’t believe it and its because they are not willing to think. I bet that if I would ask these people to explain what the age gap issue is they would not be able to say it over. Not because its hard to understand its just that its much easier to jump up and scream than to think for a minute. In terms of the Bitochon tayna we are chayiv to be Mishtadel. The Gemora also says Bayis ploni Liploni and I don’t see any lack of hishtadlus when it comes to buying a house. In terms of the Progress there has been a lot of progress. The average age gap has come down over the years which has helped many more girls get married. Even if 1 girl got married as a result of all the ads it was all worth it.

  14. There are a few thousand older girls, and only a few hundred older boys. Nobody who is knowledgeable and honest about the Shidduch scene will deny that. Even if we can “magically” unspoil all the spoiled brats, provide support for all the kollel couples, and solve all the above listed annoyances of the system, it will not resolve the FACT that there are WAY more older girls than older boys.
    The comments above who say that the crisis will go away if we fix various bad midos and technicalities, are being insensitive to the older girls who know that those issues are not the primary reason for the thousands of extra older girls. (Obviously I do not mean to suggest that we should ignore, and not work on bad middos)

  15. All this kvetching about the fact that the age gap issue is not being resolved only stems from not understanding simple math. Yes the ONLY problem is the age gap its and undisputable fact. And yes we should continue on the path of fighting the issue with relentlessly.

  16. This is really silly but of course we need married futures.

    I would propose that the issue is not a gap of ages completely, but also a gap of wealth.

    The sad truth is that our people are indeed more educated as well we have our careers. Sometimes the families have other non-jewish issues such as intermarriage and other negative factors in our shidduchs.

    Still, just looking above at some comments, the illiteracy of many of our yidden and maybe their families must be astounding in this era and age where educated eyes should be everywhere. I read comments where people do not capitalize, spell or use any syntax or grammar.

    This is scary but in all essence, G-d is our King and he is not the King to remove Israel from the world. So if you are not yet married, then the reality is that you must daven and pray for the Rebuilding of Jerusalem.

    This is the way. One does not know if he or she will be blessed to marry. The woman is the one who will decide if the shidduch is right for her. The man must daven for the Rebuilding of Jerusalem which covers any shidduch for him or anyone and his own future must be in the fate that his family can help in the value of the community to find shidduchs to present for his or another besheret’s future for another.

    So sad as it is and I have not seen statistics, I can only hope that the future will be many happy families. G-d is good and we can hope that his plan is good as it must be in all thoughts of Torah.

    The failed shidduch is only an opportunity for the safety of a better one that was the future by Torah. So fret not, The world is not over for any yiddish future!

    G-d bless American Jewish Freedom and Fate.

    Trust in Hashem.

  17. @Anonymous May 20, 2016 at 12:41 am
    if the problem is only the “simple math” and we spend 10 years trying to convince everyone of that but they are not convinced – don’t you think it is time to call this a FLOP, failure, waste of time and money and cut your losses and move on?

  18. We have a Chinuch Crisis, not a Shidduch Crisis. Why are there not as many suitable guys out there?
    If there is Chinuch reform, that will make more eligible guys who feel good about themselves and more “normal” girls.


      • REALLY ?

        A STUDY done recently proved that if one counts all the single boys who went off ,etc. there may more boys than girls……………………………………


    • Yes. The solution is chanoch l’naar al pi darko.
      I don’t totally dis the age gap. It enabled many people to start thinking outside the box and there was and is much l’shem Shamayim behind it. But until we work on menschlichkeit, on letting our children become who they will within a healthy spectrum, and parents not making extortive demands on their future machutanim, we will have problems.

      You may show me statistics about how many more boys there are. I also wonder if the attrition rate among boys is greater than girls contributing to the smaller pool.

  19. It’s a Real shame that People wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on something that is Byad Hashem and is not controlled by the people.
    I suggest that we focus our energy and resources on causes we can have an impact on.

  20. To Yacov Klein- you would never say that about a health issue. Ppl would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to do everything to save their health even though it is also Byad Hashem. So is Parnassah, so is fertility, etc. etc. but still and all, people expend an enormous effort in all these areas. The topic of Hishtadlus is complex, but it’s amazing how when it comes to shidduchim, people minimize the hishtadlus aspect.

  21. As far as Hishtadlus:
    Is paying bochurim 1000 dollars to marry a girl 4 years older than them considered Hishtatlus ?
    Is brainwashing a neive mother that it’s a Mitzvah for her son to marry a girl older than him considered Hishtadlus?
    Is telling a bochur to start dating before he’s ready considered Hishtadlus?

  22. Is the age gap the only reason for the shiduch fiasco?-That would deny basic emunah.
    Does the age gap play no role in more girls than boys on the market?-That would deny basic math.

  23. The age gap is a symptom. The disease is the superficiality, which leads to all the shtick of being davka like everyone else, even when it is clearly detrimental.


    Every wedding should have a separate room where boys over 24 or so, and girls over 23 or so, can meet casually.

    There are so many other solutions bandied about,BUT little done

    If you are opposed to these , you are the PROBLEM

    • Reform jewish thinkijg. Meat markets are not Israel looking right before Hashem. Shadchans are needed and more trust in H’. G-d is hip if you believe in him.

  25. I do not believe that the system’s at fault but the people using it are being superficial and not always looking out for their children’s best interests. There are many factors but the idea of a shadchan introducing two singles and guiding them through the process is excellent.

    I do think that there has to be some out of the box thinking for singles who’ve been seriously trying for a few years and aren’t getting dates. This could be where some of the suggestions mentioned just above this could come in. It will take some chochma and good hadracha.

    As far as more shadchanim, yes but. Say that there are ten shadchanim in Lakewood whom everyone tries to meet. They’re swamped with all the names. So if another ten start, they’ll just be swamped with the same names. Of course, we can’t have a system where one shadchan will focus on A-G, another H-M, etc. but while going to a shadchan is necessary hishtadlus, it’s not working for a lot of people.

  26. I see Rabbi Pogro responded to the “concerned parent” in readers write section of the Yated Ne’eman(which happens to a wonderful newspaper).
    He basically says that a number of shidduchim of irregular age matches were made over 10 years. He doesn’t answer how the so called crisis improved.

    Rabbi Pogro please respond online

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