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Shidduch Crisis is a boon for chesed industry

There appears to one positive aspect of the worldwide shidduch epidemic that has left millions of singles in its wake and that is people are doing more chesed. Traditionally, ultra orthodox women have begun to chesed in their middle teenage years to give their shidduch resume an edge in the very competitive shidduch market – “mothers just love to say their daughter in law is involved in dozens of chesed projects” they typically do chesed between the ages of 15 and 19, but those numbers have drastically changed as more and more women stay single longer.

Studies show that some men have jumped on the chesed bandwagon and have begun bikur cholim groups and joined their local chaverim chapter, but young single women seem to be the driving force behind the chesed industry. A spokesperson for Tomchei Shabbos, one of the dozens of charitable organizations run by frum people told us that “the shidduch crisis has really helped business, before the shidduch crisis in the 90’s, girls would typically quit their chesed careers as they got married, a select few would really do chesed outside of hosting shabbos meals after they married and these were typically baalei teshuva”.

Chesed can never be bad for a shidduch resume according to shidduch specialist Leah Klein, “we have seen girls try and do all sorts of things to raise their shidduch market value, but nothing comes close to writing that they do a lot of chesed.” For these reasons many of those involved in the day to day work that makes chesed and tzedaka organizations tick wonder what they will do if the shidduch crisis gets downgraded to a situation. Many organizations don;t want to go back to the old model, where they sent out meshulachem to help pay for the costs of hiring paid employees.

Analysts are trying to figure out why so many people neglect their chesed duties after they get married, it’s as if people are doing chesed, just to put it on their resumes – chesed is not an extracurricular activity – it should be done with gusto every day.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Jaon Sudekis October 7, 2010, 9:30 AM

    Its absolutely amazing this desperate need for chesed. You dont have to say a word to your struggling lower class neighbor in shul, (unless he drives a lexus or donated a wing to bikur cholim), can have zero manners and interact with your fellow human beings without any social skills, have no desire to be fit and live a healthy lifestyle, yet there’s this obsession/ desperate need to do something chesedik. It boggles my mind. I’ll attend three shidduch groups a week, one tehilim reading Friday night, stock shelves for tomchei shabbos, but couldn’t give a rats a#$ about behaving decently in shul, at work and with my inner circle of friends and the community at large.

    • Batsheva October 7, 2010, 5:44 PM

      Wow. I totally don’t see that in my community at all. The people who do the most chesed are also the nicest, most respectful people where I live.

      • Jason Sudekis October 7, 2010, 5:51 PM

        Let me guess Batsheva, you live out side of Brooklyn, and probably inner New York.

        • Batsheva October 7, 2010, 5:59 PM

          Yes, way outside. Ohio.

          • Jason Sudekis October 7, 2010, 6:01 PM

            How did I know

  • Batsheva October 7, 2010, 5:58 PM

    Hesh, Once again, I can’t tell how satirical you’re being here, but absolutely agree that chesed “should be done with gusto every day.” However, when I was single (starting when I was 12), I used to do chesed stuff all the time. Things like volunteering in the Jewish nursing home, volunteering to teach illiterate adults to read, I was a big sister to a Jewish girl whose mom died when she was 6 (through Big Brother’s/Big Sisters–they called the rabbi at one of the shuls in our community looking for a Jewish woman, and he asked me), candystriping in a hospital, organizing blood drives, and much more. Now that I’m married and have a kid (ONE KID, imagine the people with 6+ kids!) , I’m lucky if I have time to give blood every couple of months, volunteer for the chevra kadisha, and visit a sick friend, let alone someone I don’t know. So again, I know you were probably just being satirical, but I can say from experience that it really is true that the time you have for classical chesed stuff really diminishes when you’re married, and even more so when you have kids. I try to compensate by acting with chesed towards my husband and child at all times, and raising her to be that way. I don’t always succeed because I’m far from perfect, but I try. And that’s really all any mortal can do.

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