Volume 25 Number 31
                       Produced: Sun Dec  1 22:10:07 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

"Shotgun" Weddings
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
Shidduchim (2)
         [Shimon Lebowitz, Eli Turkel]
Shidduchim : An Actuarial Approach
         [Russell Hendel]
Shiduch and Spousal Abuse
         [Micha Berger]


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Fri, 29 Nov 1996 09:18:34 -0500 (EST)
Subject: "Shotgun" Weddings

I have a few thoughts on the questions the anonymous bochur raises re
the shidduch dating system, although I must say at the outset that I am
not in his "to-the-right-of-YU" world very much, so I don't have the
day-to-day feel of it, except for reading the _Jewish Observer_ and
observing some few friends and relatives who are part of it.  However,
some of the concerns he raises seem to show up as well in the so-called
"modern Orthodox" world, so let me add my 2 cents.

There does seem in some quarters to be the notion that if you throw
enough stuff at a wall, some of it is bound to stick; if certain
checklist items are there, why not go for it?  This has always amazed me
-- after all, the person you are going to marry is going to be the OTHER
PARENT of your children, and their parents are going to be your
children's other grandparents.  Hence the immense concern with the
proper background does seem to be in order, to some degree.  On the
other hand... "bochur" says that shadchanim

* withhold information (divorces, mental history, geyrus)
* find people from inappropriate backgrounds

I wonder if at "bochur's" age, it is not reasonable to consider that the
supply of never-married women is not as plentiful as it was in his
twenties?  Unless he is a Kohen, why must divorced women and converts be
written off sight-unseen?  ("Some of my best friends" etc. ....)

I do agree that sometimes there is an exaggeration of the necessity to
avoid loshon hora at the expense of recalling the duty to warn.  (See
above re throwing enough stuff at a wall...)

I ran this by some friends and they came up with comments along these

 He sounds pretty picky to me.  Bad enough shopping around for the perfect
 mate, the unfortunate soul has to have a perfect pedigree too. 
 Ninety-nine percent of the criticisms I've heard about the undesirability
 of x ,y or z as a future Mr. or Mrs. because of his or her "family" or
 "background" are 100% pure loshon hora and bigotry. True example, "He's
 such a nice boy, smart, educated, frum, job - but I wouldn't recommend
 him for any girl because he has a cousin who has some sort of mental

I've noticed the above attitude a LOT in black-hat circles (for all I
know, in others, too).... frum psychologists have to have their offices
out of the neighborhood, be careful about scheduling, because no one
wants to be seen, etc.  (The _Jewish Observer_ occasionally runs
articles deploring this.)

I have seen some of this in so-called "Modern Orthodox" circles too... I
know of a very fine young man who is having trouble making a shidduch
because his mother is a convert.  Excuse me folks.... He's Jewish
_because she is Jewish_; what's the problem?  (She even uses a WHITE
tablecloth on Shabbos; evidently that's one on the list like what color
shirt her father wears on Sunday....)

As Rabbi Riskin used to say... the question is, does the yichus START
with you or END with you??

	[Hmm, I think Rabbi Riskin stole that one from my father. Mod.]

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Fri, 29 Nov 1996 00:04:31 +0200
Subject: Shidduchim

I read with interest the posts on the subject of shidduchim (which B"H i
was spared, similar to our MJ friends the Sherers).  one point mentioned
by Elanit Z. Rothschild did disturb me.

While I personally feel that a baal(at) teshuva is on a *higher* darga
(bemokom shebaalei teshuva omdim...) and has shown his/her (hir?)  own
true dedication to following haShem and His Torah, I do recognize that
many eligible singles don't feel this way. My wife tells me that her
father was adamantly against such shidduchim, based on his fear that
when dealing with people from non-frum backgrounds there are often
actually non jews involved, as a result of people in past generations
marrying non jews, or non-halachic conversions; and of course the very
serious problem of mamzeirus.  (I mention this as a general observation
on attitudes towards marrying baalei teshuva, NOT chas vesholom to
relate to any particular person).

What disturbed me in Elanit's post, was:

> Now, my sister has become of "marriagable" age and we all have joined in
> on the "hunt" for a shidduch for her.  Many thoughts have crossed my
> mind about this: will he care that my sister is a baalat teshuvah?  Will
> he care that my mother does not cover her hair?  Will he still be
> willing to eat by my parents even though they eat non kosher OUTSIDE of
> the home?  Will he be willing to accept my family the way they are and
> not ask for anything else until they are ready for it?  I believe these
> are real questions.  

My personal feelings are, as I mentioned, that being a baalat teshuva is
NOT a fault, her mothers hair is not my problem, and that 'accepting' is
fine, if the relationship is mutual, as Elanit implies it would be (that
her parents are accepting of her, and her sibling's religious feeling).

BUT... I draw the line at eating in her parents house. with all the
discomfort, no... pain, involved, I cannot see eating in the house of
someone who is openly not religious, not shomer shabbat, and keeps
kashrut 'sometimes'. while I greatly admire (Really!!) their effort to
keep a kosher home, either because they themselves want it, or in
respect of the children's desire to keep kosher, I as a person coming
from outside do not feel I can accept the 'hechsher' of such people.

I happen to have a friend, a close friend, who is not shomer shabbat,
but is careful about kashrut (or believes so).
The first time I was invited there for a meal, I said the same thing:
'this pains me, but you are not shomer shabbat, and I just cannot ...'
the solution? I was offered packaged foods and disposable cutlery.
When people WANT to accomodate friends, they manage... 

Elanit, I wish you and your sister and brother hatzlacha in finding
your proper zivug, and may you all be zocheh to build batim ne'emanim

Shimon Lebowitz             ----->  Please note NEW email:
Jerusalem, Israel                   mailto:<shimonl@...>
http://www.randomc.com/~shimon/    IBMMAIL: I1060211

From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Sun, 1 Dec 1996 08:44:06 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Shidduchim

   anonymous writes about shidduchim

>> In my experience, shadchanim: (believe it or not)
>> * lie about their 'customers' (even to direct questions even when
>> checking people out)
>> * withhold information (divorces, mental history, geyrus)
>> * find people from innapropriate backgrounds

    I heard from a major rav in Bnei Brak that (in Hebrew) shadchan is
the abbreviation for

     Sheker Dover Kesef Notel
(tells lies but takes money). He was discussing all the prohibitions of
a shadchan lying. However, the problem is that many shadchanim want the
money and don't care.

     However, anonymous has two distinct complaints that should be
separated.  One is the honesty of the shadchan. The other is the demands
of the young couple or their parents. I was once involved in setting up
a shidduch.  The bride's side wanted to know where the grandparents of
the groom had davened in Europe. When told, they claim they checked it
out and some person did not remember such a family in the shul. The
parents of the groom then said that if they were not to be trusted where
their parents davened they were not interested in such a
shidduch. Obviously, the bride's side felt all this was more important
than any middot of the boy, who incidentally was one of the top boys in
the Brisk yeshiva in Jerusalem and later found a very nice shidduch.


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 1996 22:57:49 -0500
Subject: Shidduchim : An Actuarial Approach

Anonymous recently decried the practices of Shadcannim in lying about
their clients background (Vol 25 # 23).  Just to support the protest
against these practices I note that Maimonidees (Laws of Sales)
prohibits EVEN e.g. selling a shoe made with non Kosher leather to a non
jew who requested a Kosher leather shoe. The consequent comments to be
made about fraudulent Shadcahnnim are obvious.

While I applaud the protest against scrupulous practices I would like to
suggest some simple ideas which might help the "social problem" in the
Jewish Community.

First recall how say Rabbi Akiba and Rachal met: He worked for her
father's "ranch". He was always around at the house, they would speak
frequently about everything and one thing led to another. The point here
is that they were in an environment where they could naturally interact
(vs an artificial dating situation where both parties are "confronted").

The idea of creating natural environments where Jewish singles can meet
with dignity has been the focus of several people: (e.g. Rebbitzen
Jungreis, AMIT women and others have sought to create such

My concern here is statistical: I know of no study that simply presents
data on couples who have actually married.  Here are some sample
questions and alternatives that I would like to see analyzed.  Such data
could productively lead to environments where couples naturally end up

Some sample questions might be:

1) STATUS:  How long have you been married

2) MEETING: You first remember meeting each other thru 2a) An event 2b)
Someones suggestion 2c) You grew up/went to school/were in this group

3) ENGAGEMENT: You seriously saw each other socially for how long before
becoming formally engaged

4) TOGETHER ACTIVITIES: While you were seeing each other you principally
did the following:

5)ADVISE: Before becoming engaged you discussed/sought advise/were given
advise/ from the following

6a) MOST/LEAST:The following environmental factors (e.g. meeting places,
friends,..) were most helpful in your relationship

6b) MOST/LEAST: The following were least helpful

There is a subtle point to this inquiry: We are so use to hearing how a
couple SHOULD meet based on considerations of modesty and the nobility
of overlooking faults that we have ignored the question of how they DO

Perhaps someone out there knows of a study on this matter.  If not
perhaps someone will make such a study.  I think a knowledge of actual
practices will help create similar practices and possibly stabilize the
very unfortunate social dilemma we have

Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.D, ASA, rhendel @ mcs drexel edu


From: <micha@...> (Micha Berger)
Date: Sun, 1 Dec 1996 20:53:01 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Shiduch and Spousal Abuse

Yisrael Medad writes:
> group attempting to deal with the problem of abuse.  She mentioned
> sensitivity training, counseling and even dealing with the Mikva ladies
> to notice any evidence of physical abuse, although the psychological
> abuse is more rampant.  I lost contact but I hope that they are still at
> it.
>  If the Shiduch system reinforces, in addition to Torah and *yichus*
> elements, the socialization practices of ignoring the proper status of a
> wife, then it has to be rethought on that basis as well.

I feel that Yisrael is jumping quite a distance to this conclusion.

Any community of non-malachim will contain abusive miscreants. The fact
that this is also true among chareidim who shidduch-date should not be

I find two assumptions here:
1- That the incidence of spousal abuse is higher among Chareidim than
   among other Jews;
2- That this hypothetical greater incidence is related to shidduch dating
   and not some other element of their culture, such as the general
   reactionary trend -- spousal abuse was more common among the general
   population 100 years ago.

I see here something positive, that the community is looking to address
an important issue. It's hard to picture how it was construed as
something negative about the community.

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3626 days!
<micha@...>                         (16-Oct-86 - 19-Sep-96)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed</a>
<a href=http://aishdas.org>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


End of Volume 25 Issue 31