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Sending Girls to Seminaries and the Shidduch Crisis :
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Things end up falling into place. Hashem God has a plan. The shidduch system and the shidduch resume is a very big positive because you are not wasting time and emotional energy attaching yourself to someone who is not suitable. I think the crowning achievement of the shidduch system is its focus on sheltering young people from the unnecessary chaos and heartache of casual dating and hook-ups which characterizes the secular world. This makes for a more focused, mature and thought-out social experience.
At the same time, the shidduch system has its downsides. For example, if a person has a disability or his or her family profile is not that impressive — parents who became religious later in life baalei teshuvah , converted parents, low income parents— then the people behind those resumes may find themselves in the reject pile very quickly.
Evaluating a person on paper is very different than evaluating a person in person. However, on paper, you never get to see or appreciate the totality of the person.
I may just be old-fashioned or an old soul, but I still cringe at the thought of a piece of paper being the catalyst for a relationship; it feels like an impersonal transaction to me. But regardless of my personal feelings or who reviews the shidduch resume first, there seems to be a consensus that the shidduch resume is only the first step in the shidduch process.
In speaking to a rabbi in Baltimore, he opined: A lot of communities start at the resume. That is the first step. The couple has to go out several times and get to know each other. People in the Yeshivish world generally have similar ideals and lifestyles so it is not as complicated as in the secular world; they are all looking for the same several things.
Overall, the resume is just a starting point. The matchmaker makes the match, the parents review the resumes, the children agree. Many of these girls have been dating for five years or longer, which is a considerable period of time in Yeshivish circles. The general trend is for a girl to start dating around 19 when she comes back from seminary. Parents hope that their eligible daughters are married a year or two later at the latest.
Now, we have single Yeshivish girls well into their mid-to-late 20s and beyond. One could have assumed that the shidduch resume would have prevented this crisis since you have a modern and streamlined way to assess and set up singles. So, there must be other factors at play. It could be that on some level religious teens and their families face and need to overcome the same insecurities, expectations and pressures as their secular counterparts.
Perhaps the shidduch resume is a flawed starting point? Knowing that my mother has spent close to two years sifting through attorney resumes to hire one or two for her team and how she would occasionally come across glaring misrepresentations in the resumes she reviewed, I wanted to know if there was any chance of a person lying on the shidduch resume. Is there perhaps a better way? The Baltimore rabbi I spoke to felt there were some potential pitfalls regarding shidduch resumes.
Families are very nervous over lineage, education, how the shidduch will be perceived, so things on the shidduch resume may be read it the wrong way. This would prevent people from actually going out.
One shadhan in Baltimore I spoke to, who has been making shidduchim for 55 years, was very adamant: Or if you went to a shadhan, you trusted the shadhan and usually it worked out. Nowadays, it is a whole new ball game. But after years of neglect and a devastating fire, Steel Pier needed a makeover.
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