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Rabbis Want Men to Marry Women Their Age

To help solve matchmaking ‘crisis’

Hadara Graubart
November 02, 2009

If you haven’t heard about the so-called “Shidduch crisis”—a surfeit of single Orthodox women that has matchmakers, or shadchans, flailing for a better formula— well, then you probably don’t read the same blogs we do. The latest culprit is what the New York Post is calling an “epidemic of kosher cradle snatchers”—men marrying much younger women and leaving the “older” ones (20 and over) without prospects. A group of 60 Yeshiva rabbis has issued a letter to the matchmaking community requesting that men be fixed up with partners whose ages are “within a year or two of the boy’s, or even older.”

One woman the Post talked to says the letter exhorting men to seek women out of their teens is itself part of the problem: “Women in the Orthodox Jewish world shouldn’t have an ‘expires by’ stamp on them.” Reliably, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach weighs in with a dehumanizing and hackneyed response, blaming men for treating women like objects instead of like, well, other objects: “Rather than appreciating a woman who has matured like a fine wine, they often look for someone who is all cover and no book.”

Meanwhile, the press has been taking note of the increasing role of Orthodox women in the work force and as leaders in their communities, and the growing number of unmarried women (who are extremely young by most mainstream standards) may be an indication that some of them have hopes beyond child rearing, and expanding those opportunities may be a more satisfactory solution to the crisis. Anything to save us from more puns like the Post‘s headline.

Dreidel Robbers [NY Post]

Hadara Graubart was formerly a writer and editor for Tablet Magazine.