TitleThe culture of dating and single life in the modern Orthodox Jewish community
NamePenkower, Ariel Y. (author), Fishman, Daniel B (chair), Gantwerk, Lewis (co-chair), Rutgers University, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology,
Dating (Social customs)--Religious aspects--Judaism,
Jews--Social life and customs--21st century,
DescriptionThe search for a spouse can be a difficult process for many men and women. In recent years, it has been observed that a growing number of individuals in the Modern Orthodox Jewish community attempt to find spouses but are unsuccessful. Singles utilize a range of support systems, including social events, online dating resources, traditional matchmakers (shadchanim) and choosing to reside in singles communities. Nevertheless, the population of unmarried adults in this community is ever-growing, and demands to be better understood. In light of religious expectations to marry at a young age, unmarried individuals in the community are frequently viewed implicitly–and all too often explicitly–as second-class citizens. This is reflected, for example, in the phrase “singles/shidduch crisis,” a shorthand term used to describe this phenomenon, that some view as marginalizing and pathologizing this group. The present study seeks to further understand this situation in a systematic way via in-depth interviews with two unmarried men and three unmarried women from the Modern Orthodox community. A semi-structured interview schedule was designed to qualitatively capture the subjects’ range and depth of experience as single individuals. The interviews were analyzed separately as case studies and also compared and contrasted based on four major, common topic domains. Significant diversity was found in the sample, although common themes also emerged. Singles communities were seen as beneficial, but somehow artificial as well. Singles felt they were viewed as inferior by the larger community and were often troubled by loneliness and isolation. Shadchanim were valued by some, but generally criticized for insensitivity. Even with the pressures and frustrations around dating and
unmarried life, singles expressed a sense of resilience as they found sources of strength and support in their lives. Taking into consideration the implications of the case study findings, the dissertation concludes with recommended actions to be taken by the single individuals in the Modern Orthodox Jewish community, the community at large, and the mental health professionals who serve them.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 121-124)
Noteby Ariel Y. Penkower
CollectionGraduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.