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.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?[Editor’s note: “Cynthia Bowman” is a pseudonym, as are other names denoted with an asterisk.Some biographical details have been altered to hide their identities.] Yes, she told me, the ratios are lopsided. “They wait for the next, more perfect woman,” grumbled Bowman, a veterinarian in San Diego.Premarital sex remains taboo for Mormons, but the shortage of Mormon men was pushing some women over the brink.
It’s total chaos.” For Orthodox Jewish women, as for Mormon ones, getting married and having children is more than a lifestyle choice.
Most marriages are loosely arranged—“guided” is probably a better word—by matchmakers such as Elefant.
The shadchan’s job has been made exceedingly difficult, she said, by a mysterious increase in the number of unmarried women within the Orthodox community.
According to the ARIS study, there are now 150 Mormon women for every 100 Mormon men in the state of Utah—a 50 percent oversupply of women.
On a lark, I emailed my friend Cynthia Bowman,* a devout Mormon who grew up in Salt Lake City and returns there often, and asked her whether Mormon sex ratios are as lopsided as the ARIS study claimed.