“Today, if you look at the girls who graduated five years ago, there are probably thirty girls who are not yet married.Overall, there are thousands of unmarried girls in their late twenties.Shidduch is the Hebrew word for a marriage match, and Orthodox Jews (including the more assimilated Modern Orthodox) now refer to the excess supply of unmarried women in their communities as the Shidduch Crisis. Or maybe it’s the women who are holding out for the Mormon or Jewish George Clooney?Mormon and Orthodox Jewish leaders alike fear that their respective marriage crises reflect some failure to instill proper values in young people. In fact, the root causes of both the Shidduch Crisis and the Mormon marriage crisis have little to do with culture or religion. The fact is that there are more marriage-age women than men both in the Orthodox Jewish community and in the Utah LDS church.Heterosexual men are more likely to play the field, and heterosexual women must compete for men’s attention.Of course, tales of scarce men and sexual permissiveness in ancient Sparta won’t convince everyone, so I began to explore the demographics of modern religion.
At first glance, the state of Utah—60 percent Mormon and home of the LDS church—looks like the wrong place to study what I like to call the man deficit.
“Wow,” he said, “that sounds a lot like the Shidduch Crisis.” I had never heard of it, but the Shidduch Crisis turned out to be a marriage crisis among Orthodox Jews remarkably similar to the one afflicting Mormons.
Both of these socially conservative communities are suffering from marriage crises that are testing not only their faiths but social norms as well.
It’s total chaos.” For Orthodox Jewish women, as for Mormon ones, getting married and having children is more than a lifestyle choice.
Marriage and motherhood are essentially spiritual obligations, which is why the Orthodox marriage crisis is so hotly debated and why it has earned its own moniker.