Sunday, October 24, 2010

Economic slowdown = Shidduchim slowdown

This weeks Hebrew Mishpacha magazine had a very depressing article that because of the economic downturn and the rising apartment prices the shidduch market has slowed down dramatically in Israel. The reason is very simple fewer and fewer parents of girls can afford to buy an apartment for the couple. Many/most of the boys are still holding out for an apartment and there are very few parents of girls who can afford it.

The article says that the dormitories in the Yeshivas are full because the older boys who should be getting married aren't. One Rosh Yeshiva said that usually around 30 boys a year get married, this year only 10 got married. The head of a post high school seminary said that in the past half the girls were engaged or married by the end of the year, last year it was only 10%. The reason is very simple, the boys are holding out for an apartment and the girl's parents simply can't afford it.

The bottom line is that the average Charedi family size has gone up to over 6 kids per family and the income sources have gone down. In previous generations people had war/holocaust reparations from Germany, people actually worked, the cost of living in Israel was much lower, people had money from grandparents, and people lived much simpler life styles. All of these things have gone away. We now have the second or third generation of kollel only parents marrying off their daughters and the money is simply not there. There is simply no way that people can afford to pay $150,000+ to marry off their daughter.

The big question is what is going to happen? IMHO this is a much bigger issue then concerts, internet, etc. This goes to the heart of things marriage and family. It is disappointing that more hasn't been done by the Charedi leadership on this issue.


SF2K01 said...

I suspect it is part of the inevitable end to the charedi life style that has currently been perpetuated in Israel. It was one thing to have 6 kids 20 years ago, before all these expectations, but now to have 10 kids with all the drawbacks mentioned, something will have to give.

Hopefully, it will lead to a society that is less driven by a feeling of entitlement (why settle for a girl who's parents won't provide for me for an extended time), and more of a recognition that they must take part in the real world (i.e. working).

Or maybe they'll try to create it artificially by demanding the girl work before marriage to save up and buy her own apartment, but I like to think that people will change for the better.

Orthonomics said...

Thanks for pointing this out to me. One has to wonder if economic sense will take hold, or if a new social experiment will emerge.

Berel said...

For the past thirty years I'm hearing about the imminent demise of kollel due to lack of funds. And of course by every new round of this type of talk I'm told this time it's really going to happen...

Ellen said...

Another big hit to the picture is the removal of "zakaut" for home purchases for anyone other than army grads. It used to be that everyone got some grant money toward buying a home in Israel - olim got points, army service got points, family size got points, and (the charedi ticket) number of Israeli siblings got points.

I remember a little more than 15 years ago someone from Tekoa had organized a project to scout out housing that was within the "zakaut" budget for Ethiopian immigrants. They sent Israelis and anglos with a checklist to look over the apartments so the sellers wouldn't get wise to up the price to the zakaut amount.