Jewish women having tougher time finding, marrying Jewish men
Jewish women cant find Jewish men for their lifelong soul mates. Researchers are finding that Jewish men seem to be literally running from Jewish women and happy to meet and marry gentile women.
The April issue of the World Jewish Digest has made the issue its cover story. The giant cover illustration shows a piece of wedding cake with only a bride figure on top no groom and the words, The Missing Piece: Why finding a Jewish husband is no cakewalk. The story by Sarah Bronson, A Jewish man is hard to find not only addresses the major crisis over intermarriage, but it draws on sociological studies into the psyches of unmarried Jewish men and women. It suggests young male Jews consciously and unconsciously are repelled at the prospect of having Jewish wife. It partly may stem from having had an overbearing Jewish mother, but it is far more complicated than that.
Perhaps most painful, especially for those in the Reform and Conservative movements, is that Jewish men are increasingly alienated from synagogue and communal life and some hold active antipathy toward Jewish women, Bronson writes. The article draws heavily from a report coming out this spring by Sylvia Barack Fishman, a professor of contemporary Jewish life at
Brandeis University, and Daniel Parmer, a Brandeis graduate student. Their studies found that as Jewish women have gotten more active in Jewish ritual life and culture, Jewish men have increasingly disappeared, rejecting both the trappings of communal affiliation and Jewish women.
So, Bronson, notes, the singles crisis is not an isolated problem, but rather a symptom of a more radical one: a pervasive identity crisis that profoundly affects Jewish men. Fishman and Parmer found from their interviews with young Jews that Jewish women who married non-Jewish men overwhelmingly say that their original preference was to marry a Jewish man, but that, with the passage of time, other factors gained consideration. They found that American women generally are more likely to describe themselves as religious and believe religion is important for raising ethical children. They also are more likely to want to maintain family ties and find husband that please their parents.
Jewish girls are more likely than boys to receive Jewish education, more likely to join Jewish youth groups, take part in college Hillel activities, take Jewish studies and join Jewish singles groups (where they outnumber men). The growing gender imbalance among American Jews is a critical and painful challenge in Jewish life today, the researchers write.
But what about seemingly intentional avoidance of a Jewish bride? Bronson writes, Disproportionately, compared to non-Jewish men, American Jewish males harbor active antipathy toward Jewish women. They complain, Fishman and Parmer write, that dating Jewish women is more work than fun and that Jewish women are demanding, overbearing and best escaped.
They point to an experiment done in the 1990s with Jewish and non-Jewish men and women who were given a batch of photos of females and asked to find the typical Jewish woman and then to describe her. Then they were asked to describe the ideal Jewish woman. Of the three groups, the Jewish males comments sharply departed. Whereas non-Jews of both genders and Jewish women offered terms like smart, able to talk about anything, beautiful and well-read, Jewish men were likely to describe Jewish women as talking too much, having to have an opinion about everything, obsessed with food, overweight and materialistic. The Fishman-Parmer team was struck by the finding that Jewish mens ideal woman was more of a supermodel and their choice of words like quiet, not saying much and likes to listen. Fishman said that if a Jewish woman asked a Jewish man at a party what he did for a living, the man would interpret it to mean, All Jewish women care about is how much money I make as if there is no other reason for a person to ask you what you do when they are getting to know you.
Fishman calls them self-image issues and that men are ambivalent about their Jewishness, and they project that onto the women. They feel that if they are attached to a non-Jewish woman, it will break the curse.
The article draws from Jewish dating coach Evan Marc Katz who generalizes that Jews are complicated and strong-willed, and it creates relationship issues. Were a bright people, a questioning people, but a neurotic, complaining and negative people, Katz tells the World Jewish Digest writer. Would you want to be around that? Wed be well-served to, at least, get aware of that (quality) and be responsible for it and not be too surprised if others arent responding well to it. We have a lot of mishegas (insanity). Its no wonder we dont want to marry each other. Were very lucky when we find someone who loves us.
What really complicates things for Jewish women is their seeming willingness to wait until their 30s to find a husband only to find that available Jewish men want to marry younger women. Just as child-bearing chances decrease for them, so do marriage options.
The in-depth, six-page World Jewish Digest story says Jewish on-line dating actually has helped counter the bad trends. Orthodox Jews have their own set of issues: Though intermarriage is very low and marriage is less delayed, the Orthodox Jewish men who make it to their 30s unmarried are especially resistant to commitment. Those men also are especially reluctant to marry women near to their age. An Orthodox Jewish dating web site director said, Men are not open to dating women their own age, never mind a woman who is older. A man is less inclined to date a 30-year-old if he can date a 23-year-old.
Finally, Jews extremely high levels of education are a key factor. Sixty-one percent of Jewish men and 50 percent of Jewish women have received a college degree, while 29 percent of the males and 21 percent of females hold graduate degrees. That academic prowess decreases dating pools because men typically want to marry down and women want to marry up.