Saturday, July 5, 2008

Shidduch Q&A

I had such a flattering thing happen to me the other day. A male friend of mine, who is single, sent me an email with a shidduch question. It was so nice that someone actually thought I could help, especially on that topic!

Anyway, I gave my two cents, but thought it would be a good idea if I posted the question here so that anyone with any thoughts could comment. (I of course got permission first from the said friend, and modified the question slightly to conserve confidentiality.) So, if anyone has any thoughts, or even just wants to tell me how "way" of base I was in my response, please post a comment.

Here is his question and my answer.

The Question

Imagine for a moment you know an observant guy who meets a Jewish woman who:

  • Is very educated (works in university-level academia)
  • Is a feminist and likes the idea of female Rabbis
  • Grew up in a intellectual, anti-Jewish home
  • Keeps some Shabbat things but with a focus on "spirituality" versus observance (E.g., attends services that involve drums and chanting)
  • Is very spiritual

Now they really get along and even discuss the possibility of keeping Shabbat/Kosher. Is this a shidduch that the guy should pursue or is it just too much to ask for her to change to his observance level?

My Answer

Hey there! I appreciate that you ask for my opinion. But all I can offer you is a "it really depends" with the following "advice".

First, only you can find out whether she is sincerely ready to grow to the level of observance you would require. I know one woman very similar who remained spiritual versus observant and yet another who became a total frummie frumstein. I will also share that when I started dating, I was willing to consider someone less observant than myself but in the end, it always became an issue. We both know that people only change if they want to.

Secondly, what level of compromise can you see yourself tolerating before any resentment/ill will comes into play? If she remains spiritual, can you live with that? That's a reality you really need to consider. Also, what do you value more in a spouse? Is it more important to you that you get along right away or that you find someone who shares your core religious values but who you might need to coax out of her shell? If you answer the former, you might also want to determine how long you are willing to wait to see progress on the observance front and what you would do if you see no progress. Finally, and I hate to bring it up, but you should also determine what the impact could be on your son if he is exposed to conflicting levels of observance.

I don't know if this at all helps you; they're just my personal thoughts about the "issue". It really is up to you to decide. Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss the matter further.

Take care!

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