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Single Files

Barbara Bensoussan

Trying to apply some hard facts to the so-called “shidduch crisis,” one researcher proposed a scientific study of frum singles’ dating patterns and attitudes. The resulting data from almost 800 singles — men and women, yeshivish and modern — serve as a rich mine of facts about frum dating and the world of shidduchim today.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

When Dr. Kiki Ehrenpreis was looking for a topic for her doctoral dissertation in psychology, a colleague recommended that she conduct research on her own community. Her thesis advisor at Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology specialized in obesity issues, so Dr. Ehrenpreis decided to combine the obesity interest with a subject on the minds of so many in our community: the shidduch system. Having seen the painful struggle that many overweight friends had with shidduchim, Dr. Ehrenpreis proposed to look into how weight affects dating in the frum world. “We all assume that women who weigh more don’t go on many dates” says Dr. Ehrenpreis, herself a vivacious young woman. “But we don’t know that for sure without data to back it up. Studies in secular society have already shown that overweight women are at a disadvantage in many ways, including dating. I saw my research project as an opportunity to ask about frum dating in general, and get some facts about what’s really happening with the so-called ‘shidduch crisis.’ ”Dr.Ehrenpreis collected enough information to test her hypotheses and complete her dissertation in 2010. She is currently working as a psychologist for a girls’ school in Brooklyn as well as with elementary yeshivah boys via Counterforce (an Orthodox mental health agency). But there’s more to analyze from the data she gleaned for her dissertation. She works as a research project manager for the Institute for Applied Research and Community Collaboration (ARCC), which focuses on research for the benefit of the Orthodox Jewish community, and she is looking forward to delving further into her data set to help produce changes that can target the real problems singles are facing.

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