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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On Orthodox Jewish Leadership

Life in Israel (a blog I regularly check) reported on Rav Shteinman's alleged 'explanation' of the shidduch crisis in a blog post called Rav Shteinman Explains The Shidduch Crisis. My two cents after the quote:
"There has been lots of discussion and reasons given for the shidduch crisis. This is a novel approach that I never heard before to explain the crisis.
According to Kikar, some askanim from the United States of America went to Rav Shteinman the other day and asked about the shidduch crisis - why it is such a crisis, what caused it, how it can be resolved.
Rav Shteinman blamed it on the teachers in the frum schools.
Rav Shteinman did not blame the teachers in the way you might be thinking right now, they are teaching girls, or boys, to be picky, to demand x, y or z, to only accept this or that. Rather, Rav Shteinman explained that many of the girls [graduating from school in the frum community] become teachers. As teachers, there are times where they might not be careful enough with showing respect to their students. One comment out of place, or one comment that was said the wrong way, that is enough to cause a girl to be insulted and deeply hurt. That insult might cause a "kpeida" against the teacher.
Rav Shteinman said teachers should be very careful regarding the honor of their students, not to chalila hurt anyone. Such a kpeida is very serious and can cause girls to not find their proper zivvug."
What I am bothered about most in the Kikar report is the way the askanim and Rav Shteinman are dealing with the subject matter. Let me explain.

Let's assume for argument's sake that the information brought back to Kikar was word-for-word correct.
How do the askanim / how does Rav Steinmann define 'shidduch crisis'? If a girl is not married yet by age 22? If 50% of the girls get married after their religious expiry date (meaning they can't have more than 7 kids anymore)?

Moreover: Does the shidduch crisis only happen to girls? Doesn't it take two to tango?!

The proper approach would be first to define the problem, to get some statistics, and then research this alleged shidduch problem properly. Do we really have a problem? What circles are affected? How do we define the issue and what are its parameters? What are they being taught in sem / yeshivah? Are these mindsets compatible?

The pious approach of explaining phenomena along the lines of some mystical thing that is blocking blessings from above serves nobody and doesn't get anywhere.

Whereas a more practical approach might require some leadership and actually be effective.

11 comments:

  1. > The proper approach would be first to define the problem, to get some statistics, and then research this alleged shidduch problem properly. Do we really have a problem? What circles are affected? How do we define the issue and what are its parameters? What are they being taught in sem / yeshivah? Are these mindsets compatible?

    Sounds too much like SCIENCE, which as I’m sure you know is just a conspiracy to undermine our holy Torah and lead our children off the One True Path.

    > The pious approach of explaining phenomena along the lines of some mystical thing that is blocking blessings from above serves nobody and doesn't get anywhere.

    Sure it does. It provides an explanation for what’s going on, provides a theodicy (it’s our fault, not God’s), and if the crisis continues, it’s not because we failed at something practical but because of these mystical forces that are beyond any individual’s control.

    It’s disturbing how Rav Steinmann so casually blames the victim in his scenario. It’s the teacher’s fault that the student is holding a grudge, and it is the teachers who need to be careful?! Certainly I agree that teachers should be careful not to insult their students. But this seems an extrapolation of the justification for tznius: it’s the woman’s fault if the man is aroused, and it is the teacher’s fault if the student holds a grudge.

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  2. title should be "orthodox" jewish leadership

    ksil

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  3. The Rav is either misinformed or is quite disingenuous. Girls are being brainwashed to demand a guy who's a full time learner. Daf Yomi was one considered a respectable level of frumkeit. Nowadays the girls are taught that a worker who's Daf Yomi isn't frum, he's overcome by gashmius. Similarly, the boys are taught to demand a girl who's thin, pretty and comes from money. It's incredibly dysfunctional. I never thought the day would come when the rabbinate would throw away the admonition: "Im ain kemach, ain Torah"

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  4. Anonymous: 100%, I just changed it from Jewish to Orthodox Jewish. Thanks!

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  5. its unfortunately not surprising to hear this small-minded koton's response. the rational epistomological approach of observation and testing is never even considered. in lieu of that, he opts for the rabbinical approach in which he states the first ridiculous thing that comes to his mind, finds some source from thousands of years ago which seems to be supportive, and then makes sure that the solution can never be fully accomplished or measured. that way shteinmans answer can never be proven wrong.
    but actually addressing the issue and finding a solution if a problem is found to exist is too much for him to think about.
    the other obstacle is that certain potential avenues towards a solution may never even be considered. for arguments sake, if it were shown that increasing fraternization between the sexes would reduce the problem, it wouldnt matter. that would remain prohibited no matter what. the kettanim of today consistently ignore the torahs qualifier for all issues of 'vo'chai ba'hem'.

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  6. Of course it's the women/girl's fault. Our helige melamdim would never mistreat their boychicks - except perhaps a little Penn State horseplay. What nonesense.

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  7. just to comment on the "two to tango" point.. it does take two to tango, but the "shidduch crisis" the frum world talks about is always referring to the problems the girls have getting married, never the guys.

    I suspect it has to do with the fact that a guy can be an "older bochur" without it developing into a crisis. he isnt as desperate (usually) and he can still marry within a large age range of women - from 19 year old girls just entering shidduchim all the way up to his own age (or even a bit older if he is daring...).
    The women are more limited - mostly to guys older than them, plus the pressure on them to marry young and have babies...

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  8. It's sad that 22 year old girls not rushing to get married is considered a crisis. School and life can definitely get in the way of the orthodox ideal- must get married before They realize what life has to offer. Sometimes I wonder if they stop the brainwashing and release the pressure just a little bit, if this 'crisis' would disappear on it's own. Meeting a guy/ girl at the neighborhood shop or at a casual get together where young people can talk without the pressure, would make things a whole lot simpler in my opinion. But for that to work, the education of girls and guys in the yeshiva system would have to change drastically.

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  9. Rafi: I feel honored you commented on my blog, seeing that I frequently check out yours :)

    Of course the pressure is on the girls, but I am arguing this pressure is insane and it shouldn't be different from the guy's 'crisis' in a normal world.

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  10. As I am quiet new in Jewish, looking around for some Jewish information> Got something important here. Nice to get it.
    Have you seen this video http://goo.gl/Fvyjz ? It helped me get over my internal anger.

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    Replies
    1. Well, I'd rather read a book like this: http://www.amazon.com/It-The-Ultimate-Spiritual-Way/dp/1401927599/ref=la_B0034OD3G2_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342437430&sr=1-1. It teaches me how to move on in a more down-to-earth way.

      Delete