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I’m drawn to the secular because there’s a space there for people like me, people whose lives are no less valuable than those who are married.The ultra-Orthodox sphere does not offer that same assurance.She meant it honestly and with feeling, without a hint of a raised eyebrow — just pure earnestness in her hope for my future. The “ often have résumés, much like the one you’d have for a job, except it includes photographic evidence and paragraphs titled “About Me” and “What I’m Looking For.” One who deals in matchmaking would be a , while professional matchmakers could make a fee somewhere in the ballpark of 00.Which is probably why it struck me in that moment: I had phased out of the picky/waiting-for-the-right-one/I’m-actually-a-super-complex-person stage of dating. Of late, extra money has been offered as an incentive for matches made where the woman is older than the man.Admittedly, this could be because of certain relatives I choose to see often, whose idea of a blessing is to say, tearfully, repeatedly, “I hope to dance at your wedding.” Or because society at large — secular and religious alike — values finding “The One” in everything we do.My inability to ensnare a man is a failure in both circles.
I heard one discourage the brightest student in her year from becoming a doctor because “that’s not a career for a Jewish mother.” Hope she wasn’t meant to cure cancer.Now, though, I’m closing in on 30 and whatever formless anticipations I had for my life no longer apply. Despite having two degrees, respectable employment, bills in my own name, and a decent CV of published articles, I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve failed.At times my life feels like it’s boiling down to how deliberate I can make my successes if I never get married.I’m not asking that these places become egalitarian.I’m asking that women be heard when we have something to say.