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.
When Elefant attended Jewish high school 30 years ago, “there were maybe three girls that didn’t get married by the time they were twenty or twenty-one,” she said.
And just as I predicted, lopsided gender ratios affect conservative religious communities in much the same way they affect secular ones.
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.
[Editor’s note: “Cynthia Bowman” is a pseudonym, as are other names denoted with an asterisk.
She shared stories of devout Mormon women who wound up marrying outside the religion—officially known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—simply because they had no other options. ”—who gave up on finding a husband and decided to have children on their own.
Said Hunt, “My heartstrings are pulled daily.” wo thousand miles away in New York City, Lisa Elefant knows exactly what Hunt is feeling.
I called back to thank him but explained I was busy writing a book.
He asked what the book was about, and I wound up telling him about the Mormon marriage crisis.
Like several other western states, Utah actually has more men than women.
Utah’s ratio of men to women across all age groups is the fifth highest in the nation.
“I don’t sleep at night anymore,” said Elefant, a shadchan—or Jewish matchmaker—affiliated with the Ohr Naava: Women’s Torah Center in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn.
“My own sister is thirty-seven, educated, accomplished, attractive, and single.
“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.