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A Matchmaking Crisis in the Jewish Community

In response to what he calls a “shidduch crisis” in the religious Jewish community, Chananya Weissman, a 25-year-old rabbinical student at Yeshiva University in New York has started “End the Madness,” an organization which hosts live symposiums and chat rooms on its website. The madness, says Weissman, refers to the crazy questions (“Does he wear shoes with laces?” “What’s her dress size?” “Where do the parents daven? “) that people now ask each other, and feel compelled to answer, during courtship.

“The dating process has become a script that must be followed down to the slightest detail,” the website reads. “For example, wearing a yarmulke has gone from a Jewish custom to an indicator of one’s political and religious views—and, by extension, one’s suitability for marriage. The yeshiva one attends or attended somehow speaks volumes about the essence of the person.”

Weissman and others say that such behavior in the dating scene is a recent phenomenon. When asked to speculate as to the cause, Weissman suggested that the large number of Orthodox singles now looking to get married have made the search for a mate, a matter of paramount importance among observant Jews, more fraught with pressure than ever before.