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.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.
“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.
Both of these socially conservative communities are suffering from marriage crises that are testing not only their faiths but social norms as well.
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.
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.
And just as I predicted, lopsided gender ratios affect conservative religious communities in much the same way they affect secular ones.
At first glance, the state of Utah—60 percent Mormon and home of the LDS church—looks like the wrong place to study what I like to call the man deficit.
“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.
It’s total chaos.” For Orthodox Jewish women, as for Mormon ones, getting married and having children is more than a lifestyle choice.