Posted on | January 5, 2009 | By Anxious Ima | 30 Comments
Over the past few months I’ve started going to a shidduch club. Eshewing the traditional matchmaker model, our club essentially conducts a good natured swap meet for humans, each of us describing one or several singles we know, in the hope that someone listening will come forward with their beshert.
Aside from our fastitidous attention to the laws of proper speech—all singles are described anonymously with a contact person’s phone number to locate them, what I like best about our club is its openness. We handle anyone—and I really mean anyone. Ashkenazi, Sefardi. Litvish, Chassidic, national religious, young, old, short , tall, healthy people and people challenged by physical or mental handicap, even fat people (whom have the hardest time of all) . We like to think that everyone deserves to find his or her beshert and no one is ever turned away.
It is a heady undertaking. When the meeting ends—it takes about two hours in total, I’ve got a notebook full of descriptions of eligibles and strains of Oh Yishama running through my brain.
But then I phone up the Mom’s of singles that I know to “redt” someone I heard about at the meeting and the music in my head abruptly switches off. No one seems to buy what I am trying The answers go something like this:
“No, he’s hassidish (or sefardi or litvish or too young or too old) … Or he/she is too short, small or (worst of all) too heavy. As I put the phone back into the cradle I feel like yelling.. What is going on here??. I feel like yelling. Doesn’t my friend realize that her daughter is thirty five years old.What is she expecting will happen??
Look I’m not naïve. I know that today the Jewish people is a tapestry of diverse groups each with its own subculture, but c’mon….
It isn’t forbidden for an ashkenzi to marry a sefardi or a litvak a hassid or a tall girl to marry a short boy or anyone to marry anyone fat—and unlike ethnicity, weight can be changed.
I”d venture to say that a change in our shidduch mentality would probably promote better health overall. If we readjusted our concept of beauty to include the fuller figure, eating disorders would quickly disappear just as if more ethnic intermarriage would minimize the incidences of Tay Sachs, Guachers and other Ashkenazi genetic scourges.
People who don’t share a common ethnicity( or body type or body size) aren’t necessarily high risk for divorce. Of course, couples need to be attracted and to communicate but people have many different points of contact. A couple may share a love of music or hiking and we all share a common legacy the Torah which provides more than enough to talk about.
This kind is the fuel thinking (he’s too litvish, she’s too fat) is the fuel behind the current much touted shidduch crisis. I know several no longer young women who have been waiting for Mr. ethnically and religiously “right” for so long that they have probably lost their chance to become mothers.
It is especially infuriating to watching my BT friends following their FFB mentors in adapting this narrow minded and self destructive mindset, even more so when one considers that our secular brethren hook up with people from any ethnic or religious background.( although they too are prejudiced against the scale challenged) .
If we want to insure our survival and by that I mean, giving the maximum number of our people a chance to procreate we are going to have to rethink our shidduch choices. Who knows what that may create. Ashkesfards, chassido-litvaks, a new appreciation for the Rubens figure and other interesting developments .Vive la revolution.
Anxious Ima has started a blog at A Thin Thread of Faith.