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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 5/13/05

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Dear Rachel,

Your answer in the column of March 25 (Pity the Children) really hit home. I refer, in particular, to the part in your reply that said, “… it is not always divorce that causes the most harm. An unhappy home fraught with bickering, disagreements and disrespectful behavior toward one another can at times be far more damaging – while some single parents who create nurturing and stable environments have been known to raise wonderful children.”

My friends and I who are on the shidduch scene have unfortunately encountered instances of blatant prejudice in our frum communities. You’d be surprised (or maybe not) at how some parents of singles flat out refuse to hear of a shidduch when there is divorce in the background. In-demand qualifications and exemplary midos suddenly count for nothing. Narrow-mindedness dictates to these bessere mentchen that a match may only be appropriate if one is “untainted” by ugh!.. the dirty word, divorce. Mind you, there is hardly a family today that is not touched by divorce somewhere along its bloodline.

Another bias that rears its ugly head is the professional’s (or his mother’s) rejection of a girl who is not a college graduate. Without getting into the semantics of what a Jewish wife/mother’s role entails, since when is an individual’s intelligence, aptitude, finesse and even genius gauged by a college degree, or lack thereof?

Just sign me …

Your loss, guys!

 

Dear Loss, er.. Lass,

The world has always had its prejudices. But fret not. The one who’s meant for you will find his way clear when the right time presents itself. As for the uppity types, they are sometimes made to learn the hard way. Leave it to our all-knowing Father of matchmakers …

A college education, as you insightfully point out, does not an ideal mate make. That’s not to say that higher education should be ruled out for frum females. If one has an aptitude for a specific vocation and can utilize her acquired knowledge to help support a Torah-learning spouse, for instance, more power to them both. Generally speaking, however, turning down a potentially viable match because of a lack of a college degree is utterly foolhardy.

It is no secret that many world-renown personalities have climbed the ladder to corporate success without ever having attended graduate school. Scholastic achievement, while commendable, cannot provide one with common sense where there’s none to begin with; neither will it compensate for a deficiency of inborn intellect.

A father of a son in the shidduch parsha once asked the saintly and sharp-witted Satmar Rebbe, z”l how to determine whether a girl was a “gelungene” (accomplished). The rebbe summed it up neatly: She should be a baalhabayis’te (proficient homemaker), she should not be an akshunis (obstinate), and she shouldn’t be too smart for him.

Don’t lose heart, and don’t compromise on character attributes, common goals and like ideals – elements that are crucial for a harmonious pairing.

May you realize your dream of an ideal mate – very soon!

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


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