- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 31, 2009

Although June, the month of weddings, can be a depressing time for many of America’s 100 million singles, there are signs of hope. One of my former Texas roommates just got married for the first time at age 54.

Lise Ann Goldman, a friend living in Chevy Chase, got married a year ago this June for the first time at 53. She found her husband through JDate.com, a Jewish singles network.

Some of my best discussions on the downside of singleness are with Jewish women. Matchmaking is part of Jewish culture. Remember the yenta in “Fiddler on the Roof”? In his 1999 book “Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments,” Orthodox Rabbi Schmuley Boteach wrote, “The Almighty has a soul mate intended for each and every one of us.”

Now in most Christian circles, asking for help in finding a mate is considered suspect. You’re told that Jesus is supposed to meet all your needs.

Lise Ann did not have to operate under such an assumption. While looking for a mate, she amassed a 15,000-name database of Jewish singles. She showed up at Jewish Community Center events. She even joined bicycling clubs.

“For years, in my spare time, I used to organize upscale, interesting singles events at embassies and art galleries,” she told me. “Initially, I had a hard time finding quality men. I had to work harder at bringing them there; men are busy with work, sports, hobbies. They are not as social a creature as women. They are more buried in their work.”

When her now-husband popped up on JDate, she nabbed him fast.

“It was a numbers game finding the right person,” she admitted. “I was on JDate for a long time. After a while, men get jaded being in the singles thing too long. They always think there is another woman around the corner and they don’t want to commit. And the ones still there tend to have issues, such as an ex-spouse or aging parents.”

Another Jewish friend agreed that finding a man is tough. Shira Decker, a married, New York-based marketing consultant, tells me female clergy really have it rough.

“A single male rabbi is sought after, a hot commodity, a catch,” she explained. “Female rabbis who are single have a very hard time.”

She added, “All the women I know who are single are fabulous, sensitive, bright women, but where are the husbands? I know some of the guys getting divorced and they’d be good for an affair but I wouldn’t tell anyone to marry them.

“As for my single female friends who are divorced, their husbands were remarried in five seconds. Twenty years later, they are not. It seems like when a woman over a certain age is married, it’s a modern miracle.”

We’ve heard a lot about the breakdown of the two-parent family, but there are very few voices admitting a basic reason: Women cannot find decent husbands. Why do I hear more concern about this in the Jewish community than among Christians?

Left to fend for themselves, many women conclude, “We don’t need men,” Shira said. “We don’t need them financially anymore. … These great women out there, they are single, they are building up lives and they are moving on.

“They are not just making lemonade out of lemons, they are creating a whole different reality.”

Julia Duin’s Stairway to Heaven column runs Sundays and Thursdays. Contact her at [email protected] times.com.

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