Monday, 17 June 2013

Question! About "BT Shelf Life". . .

I bumped into a relative of a grad school classmate who had become frum around that time. It has been almost a decade (8yrs) since we graduated/she became frum. At the time we were in school, my classmate expressed that she really hoped  to get married. She still isn't, and the person I spoke to yesterday  asked me if I know anyone . . . I don't. a) I don't know many frum people aside from my relatives, and b) all the frum people I know were married by the time I was in gradschool. It seems to me she missed the optimal time for a single woman to become BT. (I think it's late teens) Am I wrong?  Is there a Shelf Life for a single BT woman? 

I also think this is may be a case where the Jewish taboo (and in the case of Orthodoxy prohibition) on intermarriage shoots itself in the foot. It is possible that had this girl not limited herself to Jewish/frum mates, she may have been married with kids by now. i.e. had she considered seeking a partner  outside of the tight/restrictive boundaries of the tribe, the world would have MORE, not less, Jews.

http://behance.vo.llnwd.net/profiles10/1088931/projects/3817929/d2ba688769fca8f897436013bbc2a00b.jpg

8 comments:

  1. A BT woman, especially one who becomes frum at a later age, will almost definitely be set up with BT men. I wonder if there are fewer BT men than women (someone could definitely put together statistics on this), because women seem to search for "spirituality" more than men do.

    That being said, I think the answer to your question depends on the person. And maybe this woman would rather live her life as a frum single woman than a married non-frum woman. I wonder what this would do to Chazal's argument that a woman prefers any marriage over being single?? (And to Rabbi Soloveitchik's assertion that this is a permanent ontological principle of humanity? Do Chazal mean to say that a woman would prefer a nonreligious husband over being single?? Maybe!)

    Sorry for getting off track! More background here:

    http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2011/07/rav-and-immutability-of-halachah.html

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    1. > I wonder what this would do to Chazal's argument that a woman prefers any marriage over being single?

      That might have been true when women had little legal standing and were dependant of their father or husband, and it may not have been meant as a rule with no exceptions, but as something true of most women.

      > And to Rabbi Soloveitchik's assertion that this is a permanent ontological principle of humanity?

      That’s just nonsense, and demonstrably so, unless he were to claim that all the unmarried women who say they are happy with their lives lying.

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    2. That’s just nonsense, and demonstrably so

      I agree, but whenever anyone points out a happy single woman, the Soloveitchik crowd points out "the principle is never meant to apply in every single case, there are always exceptions, blah blah blah..." It's like nothing can penetrate their shield.

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  2. >And maybe this woman would rather live her life as a frum single woman than a married non-frum woman.

    Good point - possibly.

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    Replies
    1. Well, if marriage was a bigger priority than religion, she probably would have left observance by now, if she concluded it was holding her back from marriage.

      It's actually a little more complicated - it is hard to walk away from the religious world - but for a single BT, it's certainly possible to do so.

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  3. Yes, definitely.

    But the truth is: the shelf life ends befor most people become bt. Frummies get married at 18-22, that's the age where many bt frum out, and they are not conform enough to secure a "desirable" marriage. i.e. they are left with "undesirable" ffb and bt.

    I think it is a mistake for a bt to look for a frum companion, for the simple reason that the frum won't want the bt, so the eligible group becomes really, really small (frum bts who are not yet married). It would be more sound to accept non-frum jews, for the simple reason that the non-frums are more acceptant of bts.

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  4. In some ways, the "shelf life" is longer for a BT, since frum-from-birth women generally marry quite early to men from a similar background, while a BT may marry another BT or someone who is older/divorce/somewhat out of the box.

    If someone was BT, I can't see them marrying a non-Jew. They would have adopted a whole new lifestyle and revolved their lives around it. I can't see expecting a potential spouse to go along with keeping kosher, observing Shabbat, following the niddah rules (no sex for half the month), paying for Jewish education for the children, living within walking distance of a synagogue, etc. if they didn't share similar backgrounds and beliefs. Marriage involves some compromise, and if there are areas where you are unwilling to compromise, you better find a spouse who is on the same page.

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  5. There may be a longer "shelf life" for a BT. With the orthodox kiruv machine expanding to cover the young professional set (post-college to about 30 years old) it would seem that the pool of eligible professional BTs is enlarging. It may just be a matter of hooking up with the right organizations.

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