Heeb Movie Interview: Unattached Young Orthodox Jews on the Upper West Side

Normally we don't read Heeb because we aren't hip enough. But this film article seemed offbeat. And is it ever!

There are (we guess - no statistics offered) several thousand young Orthodox Jewish single men and women on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Some of them are profiled in a new film. It says there is a problem if these singles do nor marry and propagate the species.

So many things are wrong with this contrived analysis it is hard to know where talmudically to start. Let's just ask two questions and move on.

First, are non-Orthodox young American men and women also living as singles for longer on the Upper West Side and throughout the country for that matter? We think the answer is yes. And we think it is a result of powerful cultural and social forces. If we are right, then there is nothing abnormal about the MOJ UWS situation. It's not our strange crisis. It's an artifact of our civilization.

Second, are these young singles happy and well adjusted? True there have been a few tragic UWS instances - suicides stand out - that beg for an explanation. Yet we have not seen any evidence that there is an epidemic of culturally generated depression up there. There is lots of evidence of high achievement in career and creativity and of happy well-adjusted young people leading normal and superbly productive lives.

If then the cohort in question is happy and normal - we'd say happy as a clam - but that is a problematic idiom for Orthodox Jews - what then is all the tumult and the shouting about? We think there's no need to solve a problem that does not exist. It ain't broke. Don't try to fix it up. Leave them alone. They will be fine. Heeb it here:
The Upper West Side “Singles Crisis”

I thought a "singles crisis" referred to running out of ones at a strip club, but then I saw Unattached. The new documentary explores the predicament of aging 20-year-old single women in the Upper West Side’s Modern Orthodox community failing to find a match. This "plague" is causing major anxiety in the community; the longer young people remain unwed, the more likely they are to leave the fold.

The film has won a Student Academy Award, screened at mainstream and Jewish festivals around the world and is currently available on the Documentary Channel. Heeb caught up with director J.J. Adler, a video director at The Onion, after it’s New York premiere at Rooftop Films this summer... more...

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