Studying the Singles and Shidduchim

Is there a “shidduch crisis” and, if so, where does it come from? What makes a good match? How does being single affect and shape singles’ understanding of Judaism and their relationships with Torah and God? 

It was questions such as these that the OU’s Center for Communal Research (CCR) sought to answer when it launched “The Shidduch Crises” research project this past year. (Crises, in the plural, as the project seeks to underscore the multiple complex pieces of the shidduch crisis.) For the study, the CCR concentrated on five main areas:

1. What is the scope, size and structure of the Orthodox “marriage market” in the US?

2. How do singles and shadchanim define a “good match”?

3. Where does the “crisis” come from—what is its history, and who may benefit from its perpetuation?

4. How does being single affect and shape singles’ understanding of Judaism, their familial and communal interactions, and their relationship with Torah and God?

5. How do Orthodox rabbis and communal leaders view extended singlehood from a Torah perspective?

Through qualitative surveys and interviews with singles, shadchanim and religious communal leaders, data analysis of popular dating sites, and exhaustive reviews of existing literature, the CCR explored what it means to be single and Orthodox in America today. Results are expected to be released this year. For the study, CCR enlisted researchers from Baruch, Brandeis, Hebrew University, Indiana, the University of Michigan, the University of Toronto and Yeshiva University.

“We examined the behaviors and beliefs of those involved with the Orthodox marriage market—from singles to matchmakers to rabbis and rebbetzins,” said CCR Director Matt Williams. We anticipate the results will help policymakers, practitioners, philanthropists and singles.”

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This article was featured in the Winter 2020 issue of Jewish Action.
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