Monday, January 11, 2010

Mismatched

"I come out of the bedroom, in my nightgown, and she points at me, at my bare legs, and tells me I'm not Tznius. Can you believe it?! She's only three! What are they teaching her there? I don't know what this Bais Yaacov is drilling into her head. Tznius is important, but this is bordering on obsessive."

"Relax." I tell her. "Girls take in more from their families than their schools. Look at me, I went to the most extreme school possible, and I'm normal, no? My friends are all the same. With girls it goes by the home, not the school. It's the boys you should be worying about."

She puts down her fork, leans across the table. "No, The Talmud Torah is fine, they barely teach Mussar or Haskafa. In boys' schools the focus is entirely on Torah learning, nothing else. It works out great, the boys listen to us, and there's no contradiction with what they're getting at school.

"Wait till your boys begin Yeshiva Ketanah." I say. "It's the path of no return."

Because it's the boys who change, they go to off to Yeshiva and that's it. Their family can be open as open can be, but the boys morph, into streamlined products of the yeshiva system. Put it down to the dorming, ascribe it to them being less attached to home, whatever the reason, the results are the same.

I should know. I suffer the consequences every day. I date products of the system. Many girls have the same problem. Girls from American families retain their homes' openness, their Chutznik mentality. Boys, from the same families, are swallowed up in the Israeli Hareidi world. It's a mismatch.

Come to think of it, maybe that's at the root of the Shidduch issues in Israel. We are mismatched, crops of two different systems.

Despite the exorbitant financial demands placed on parents, despite the apartments the girls need to provide, the fathers prematurely aged by the weight of loans, despite it all, 95 percent of my class is married by now.

Who's left? The Americans, the girls from middle-of-the-road families, who want their own homes to be equally open minded. Because their male parallel doesn't exist. Their male peers, the brothers and cousins and neighbors, left home at thirteen, and entered a different world, the mainstream Hareidi world, and never looked back.

The other girls having the same issues are the Sefardi girls. The daughters study at Ashkenazi Bais Yaacovs, the sons are sent to Sefardi Yeshivas, and again the result is a clash of cultures.

There's no Shidduch crisis in Israel, as long as you both tally, parallel products of parallel systems. But when the girls belongs to one world, and the boys to another, then trouble lies ahead.

7 comments:

  1. So, in essence, it isn't a shidduch problem, but an education problem, which leads to an upbringing problem?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think it's the same story in the DL community as well. Independent feminist (rahmana litzlan) girls dating products of the yeshivot.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I guess you'll just have to date American Yeshivish Olim. Like me. Who do I call to get setup w/ u "misfits?"

    ReplyDelete
  4. Did you think maybe to date outside the little box you're trying to fit yourself into?

    Behatzlacha.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I remember going out with someone who really wasn't a match;

    May you find the right one soon

    ReplyDelete
  6. History repeats itself. See by Dr. Laura Shaw-Frank:

    Dr. Shaw-Frank describes how in Cracow, the rabbinate didn't care about women's education, as long as the women didn't learn Torah. The women could learn anything, as long as it wasn't Torah, and the rabbis didn't oversee anything. Therefore, the women received solid secular educations, but no Torah education whatsoever. One result was obvious: a frightening explosion of conversions to Christianity.

    But there was another result too. I quote Dr. Shaw-Frank: "These young women were not provided with the means by which they could preserve their Jewish identity in their confrontation with Polish society. The dissonance between life at home and in the outside world became greater as they grew older, with the conflicts becoming deeper and more pronounced. The climax would come when the parents expected them to marry a young man from the ‘old world,' with whom they shared no language. This moment of facing a life with a man with whom such a young woman had nothing in common except that they were both born Jewish and had parents committed to the continuity of the Jewish people was often the breaking point that led the young woman to escape to the convent to convert."

    ReplyDelete
  7. Edit: History repeats itself. See But We are Guilty for Our Daughters by Dr. Laura Shaw-Frank:

    ReplyDelete