Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Social Stratification in the Orthodox Jewish Community: FFBs, BTs, and Geirim (Part III)

Before reading this check out parts 1 and 2.

For the third post in this series we'll play matchmaker.

Meet Oren. He grew up secular in Tel Aviv. After serving in the IDF, he spent a year in touring around the world. After checking out various different religions and cults he decided to look into Judaism. He returned to Israel and enrolled in a Yeshiva for BTs. He learned with great diligence for two years, advancing very well in his studies and religious observance. Now he is 24 years old and looking for a shidduch (a match).

Meet Feige. She grew up FFB in Jerusalem. She learned in a Beis Yaakov school and seminary. The only boys that she has ever talked to are her brothers. She is now 20 years old and also looking for a shidduch.

Would you set these two up for a date? I do not think that I would. If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, Oren and Feige are from two different galaxies! For the good of them both I would try finding for them mates with similar backgrounds.

Our next candidate is Betty. She is a very sincere convert that grew up in Amsterdam. She speaks Dutch, English and French fluently. She decided to convert to Judaism after visiting Israel. Presently she is learning in a BT seminary in Jerusalem, and is picking up Hebrew quite well.

Now meet Yankel, a FFB from B'nai Brak. He also knows three languages: Yiddish, Hebrew, and Aramaic. He has been learning Torah and only Torah all his life. He does not know which country Amsterdam is in. The only woman he has ever talked to is his mother. That is because all of his seven siblings are boys.

I think you get the idea. Oren, with his worldliness, could be a good match for Betty. Yankel and Feige sound like a match that was decreed in heaven forty days before the embryos were formed. I would not suggest putting Yankel and Betty together. It is possible that such a match could succeed, but I do not think that it is probable.

All of the above is clearly logical for anyone familiar with the orthodox community and with the institution of marriage therein. The problems start when fantasy trumps common sense. I once heard about an Israeli BT that was unwilling to date anyone who was not a FFB from a certain Hasidic sect. That is a silly and unrealistic position for him to take.

An unfortunate by-product of this social stratification is a feeling among certain Geirim and FFBs that the community does not desire them. Sometimes they ask themselves, "Why do they always set me up with BTs and Geirim? Do the FFBs think that they are too good for me?"

Well, every community does has its snobs. However, the real reason is according to what I wrote above. Remember, FFBs are different! That is something that every matchmaker should take into account.

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