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The Challenges of Courting a Jewish Mate

While matchmaking services ask a variety of questions to help single men and women match along various points and characteristics, Orthodox recruiters expect Jewish women to submit a shidduch, or bridal resume of sorts, to market their best characteristics as offerings to potential mates. The bachelorette do have the opportunity to specify their dearest hopes of finding a partner who is either a professional, traditional breadwinner or a scholar in yeshiva, or a Jewish seminary. Some lucky future brides who seek it in a man will undoubtedly win over a husband who is both an earner and a learner. The key is to find a true companion who accepts the bride's resume.

Available Orthodox men are a rarity. With all their bargaining power, these eligible men can afford to be choosy. For many, the future wife's resume boils down to dainty waist sizes, shining hair, willowy height, pedigree and affiliation. Some would say that it is like choosing a thoroughbred mare for a fine stallion.

In addition to the bevy of inquiries regarding the femme's beauty or status, her future in-laws may wonder about little things. With the sly, subtle motions of 007, the parents may ask friends and family of the future daughter-in-law seemingly trite questions to determine her dedication to Orthodoxy. Every detail becomes a clue to decide what sort of wife she will be.

The law of supply and demand affects such tried and true traditions as Orthodox match making. With more fellows choosing younger brides, many Orthodox women find themselves afraid that they may be facing spinsterhood. They fear the big question in their futures: She never married, did she?

Added to the marks of beauty and social connections on the list of expectations are increasingly stringent expectations for the yet to be married woman. As the market gets tighter, so must her belts to cinch her shrinking waist, even as her parents' wallets must grow to support the son-in-law she may snare for them. Relief will come when Orthodox women start to ask a few questions and make a few demands of their own. There are no guarantees in love, but everyone should have a say in the contract of marriage.

Posted at 9:27 AM on Aug 6, 2008 By

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