The unavailability of men has shifted the bargaining power in their favor.
“Girls became less desirable, and the boys more desirable, and now a boy can marry anyone,” the matchmaker said.
But in a society that values tradition, there remains little incentive for young men to change. Assimilation is the great fear of Orthodox Jews: the loss of their young, and ultimately their identity, to the wider secular society.
But even if the problem may not exist, the hand-wringing over it certainly does. Forms of individuation or societal rule-bending that might have been permitted in the past have all but disappeared.“Gray areas became black,” one ultra-Orthodox woman from Chicago told me.
“Who in their wildest dreams can begin to describe the . “No one will have mixed seating at a wedding anymore, even though there’s nothing [religiously] wrong with it.
They are helping the men and women—especially the women—fulfill the primary social responsibility of their community: to get married.
For the ultra-Orthodox, religious restrictions against the “mingling” of genders prevent singles from taking advantage of contemporary coupling opportunities. Marital aspirants meet almost exclusively through the intercession of like this group in Borough Park.
No one goes to the movies anymore.” Acting out isn’t worth it if it might cost you—or a sibling, a cousin, or a child—a match.