web analytics
April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


Debunking the ‘Age Gap Theory’…Again

How manipulating shadchanim and even offering financial "incentives" to marry men off to older women is ethically sound or halachically permissible has yet to be explained.
woman-on-bike-man-helping

Guest Post by Rabbi Chananya Weissman

Rabbi Chananya Weissman is the founder of End the Madness. Here is their mission statement:

EndTheMadness.org is an ambitious and unique effort to combat the angst and hardships associated with dating in the religious Jewish community.

My recent post on Shiduchim elicited a huge response. It seems to have really touched a nerve. The premise of that post was that the ‘age gap’ issue is not the primary cause of the so called Shiddach crisis. Rabbi Weissman has submitted the following contribution to that discussion:   I have written extensively in years past about the absurd yet popular notion in the Orthodox world that the problem in the shidduch world is demographic in nature. Many people have been brought to believe that there is simply a shortage of eligible men and that this problem can somehow be resolved by conniving to marry these men off to the oldest eligible women.

How this would cause men to multiply has never been explained. If you have an island with 50 women and 40 men, and the men marry the 40 oldest women, there will still be 10 women without a male counterpart. Even if every so often 10 more men and 10 more women join the island, you will never catch up. Proponents of this idea are simply “borrowing” from the pool of available men with plans to “pay back” with a hoped-for future supply of men. In other words, this is a Ponzi scheme. How have those been working out?

How manipulating shadchanim and even offering financial “incentives” to marry men off to older women is ethically sound or halachically permissible has also yet to be explained. A shadchan’s responsibility is to suggest the most suitable match to her clients, irrespective of presumed demographic issues in the community. That is not and should not be her concern. If two people are best suited for one another but are more than a few years apart, it is the shadchan’s moral responsibility to introduce them over other candidates who are closer in age. To intentionally deny clients the most suitable available match is morally corrupt.

But the best part is that the very premises of this age gap theory have been proven over and over again to be false, as I will once again demonstrate. This is something our eyes and ears tell us — contrary to the wild claims of age gap theorists, we simply do not see many married couples with a huge difference in age between them, nor do we see seminary girls going out with 40-year old men. It’s just not reality.

Thankfully, we don’t need to rely on anecdotal evidence, powerful though it is. Every year in honor of Tu B’av the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (www.jiis.org) puts out hardcore statistics on marriage in Israel. These statistics demonstrate in no uncertain terms that every premise of the age gap theory is false, and that proponents of this theory are disconnected from reality.

As reported in the Jerusalem Post, the percentage of single men age 20+ in Jerusalem for the year 2010 was 27%, versus 20% for women. For the age range of 30-34, 24% of men were single, versus 20% for women. In other words, if there is any crisis at all in terms of demographics, people should be wringing their hands over the plight of single MEN. Based on the numbers, women are having an easier time.

Furthermore, and this is a direct quote from the Jerusalem Post article on July 19: “The average age difference between a Jewish bride and groom was 2.1 years, in comparison to five years in other religions.”

In other words, not only is there no widespread phenomenon of men marrying women significantly younger, in the Jewish world there is a far lesser incidence of this than elsewhere.

To summarize:

1) The age gap theory is based on premises that are proven false by actual marriage statistics. 2) The age gap theorists insist there is a problem that does not exist. 3) The age gap theorists insist on a solution to the problem that is merely a Ponzi scheme, which is foolish and cannot succeed. 4) The age gap theorists promote immoral and halachically indefensible behavior from shadchanim to push matches based on trivial considerations, which will only perpetuate and exacerbate existing problems

So why in the world do so many people gobble up this theory like some God-given truth? I believe it is because the fabrication of a demographic problem is far more comfortable for people than the call to look in the mirror and change one’s values. Our community is always looking for a scapegoat: television, the Internet, secular values, those “other” Jews. The problem is never us, it is always someone else. The age gap theory draws attention away from the real problems (the community itself and its corrupt ways), and therefore it is readily accepted.

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Debunking the ‘Age Gap Theory’…Again”

  1. Ch Hoffman says:

    Most every society reaches some imbalance or excess of women over men in the mating pool. It's solved may different ways by different societies.

    Some just wind up with a significant excess of women over men, and procreation among women is not limited to marriage.

    Some wind up with a high incidence of women who'll never procreate; a real demographic curse;.

    Some, like Jews from Muslim lands until they emigrated to Israel or to Western democracies – and the Muslim residents of those lands up until today, believe that romantic and procreative love can exist as well in a polygamous relationship.

    And then there's the religious Jewish community which would like to recreate the world of mathematics so that 7=8 whenever reality is inconvenient.

Comments are closed.

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), co-sponsor of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.
Iran Legislative Compromises may Cause Nuclear Explosion in Washington
Latest Blogs Stories
empirestatebuildinginnewyorkgeneralview4361.jpeg

Truly, in the modern world, we live in the time of ‘What’s in it for me?’ The time of the ‘selfie’!

A Soldier's Mother

My final reaction remains – who builds a mountain of ashes, who turns it into a “tourist” site?

to bibi or not to bibi

Is the recent increase in Arab terror attacks related to the fact that there’s no new government?

HaAchim Gat playing Beit Shemesh

They called it “religious coercion” but it was really “secular coercion” and secular intolerance.

One exciting element of traveling is that it was my first time ever doing so as a dual-citizen!

Attackers of this innocent religious solider had been brainwashed that Israel is evil & illegitimate

How can you take care of the one you love and look after your finances at the same time?

Celebrating 67 years of democratic independence, surviving wars&threats; so much to be thankful for!

He was a Torah giant, uniquely exemplifying the Hashkafa of Torah U’Mada (Torah & worldly knowledge)

All Israel walks beside them, holding them in our hearts, listening, our hearts breaking with theirs

I’ve felt that if only we had established these communities sooner, then the victims would not have been killed

Is inflation always bad for the economy, and why is deflation not always an ideal situation?

It is the character of the individual that counts, not his sexual preferences.

Bibi gives a great speech, especially when talking to foreigners, but on policy, he’s very weak.

One of us had the chutzpah to ask him to join the ball game. He said okay and he played aggressively.

Watch this Doug Goldstein video to learn how easy it’s to open a US brokerage account from overseas.

More Articles from Harry Maryles
empirestatebuildinginnewyorkgeneralview4361.jpeg

Truly, in the modern world, we live in the time of ‘What’s in it for me?’ The time of the ‘selfie’!

Remains of the back window of the car driven in Mea Shearim by an officer of a Hareidi IDF unit.

Attackers of this innocent religious solider had been brainwashed that Israel is evil & illegitimate

He was a Torah giant, uniquely exemplifying the Hashkafa of Torah U’Mada (Torah & worldly knowledge)

It is the character of the individual that counts, not his sexual preferences.

“I am 100% convinced that she is not in any way anti-Semitic. She is in fact a philo-Semite”

Chumros-YES! But when it comes to the Chilul HaShem described in the article they couldn’t care less

Why are employers reluctant to hire Charedim? Legitimate concerns or plain old fashioned prejudice?

Just like the shoppers on Black Friday those attending Rav Wosner’s funeral were oblivious to others

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/debunking-the-age-gap-theory-again/2013/07/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: