The 25 Most Eligible Modern Orthodox Bachelors of 2011

Well, it’s that time of year again! No, I’m not referring to the start of tax season or the opening days of the Yeshiva University seforim sale. Rather, it’s finally time for the release of the most anticipated list of the year: “The 25 Most Eligible Modern Orthodox Bachelors of 2011.” Since I didn’t have the time to release this list last year, I wanted to make sure I got the 2011 rankings out early for all those eagerly waiting meidluch who want to get this year’s shidduch dating season off to a running start. Since 2009, some top bachurim got married or have girlfriends, while others have slipped through the cracks and are still on the market. There are also some newcomers to this year’s list who have spent the past year and a half refining their middot and stepping up their game in order to earn a spot on this esteemed list.

Rather than describe what characteristics make up a quality bachur, as I did in my 2009 list, this year I will write a VERY brief description on how each bachur earned their way on to this list. In doing so I hope to give each meidel an idea of which bachur may be shayich for them. Let’s get started:

UWS vs. The Heights: A Battle of the Singles

[Warning: This post includes many generalizations, assumptions and stereotypes. I will be extremely blunt and I have no intention of being politically correct. If you think that you may be offended by this, please save yourself both the time and aggravation, and don't read the rest of this post. Thank you!]

“The Heights or the Upper West Side?” This is the question facing every modern orthodox single Jew upon graduation from college. Whether you’re graduating from a college in New York City or outside the Tri-State area, whether you’re “machmir” or “modern”, most singles are ultimately confronted with the decision of where to spend their last remaining years of single-hood. While the Upper West Side (UWS) singles’ community used to be the “go to” place over the past several decades, Washington Heights has recently emerged as a large singles community in it’s own right. Located between Wadsworth Avenue and Ft. Washington Avenue and between 181street to 190th street, The Heights is a smaller version of the UWS with it’s own unique twist. Given these two great options, it leads many people to wonder what are some of the differences between these two communities on the West Side of Manhattan and which one is right for me? As a current resident of Washington Heights, and as someone who frequents the UWS quite often (some people actually think I live there), I feel like I am in a unique position to offer insight on both communities and what to expect within each.

A Case for Shomer Negiah

I recently received a Facebook message from a meidel in Los Angeles who asked me to write about the topic of Shomer Negiah. Shomer negiah, the concept in Jewish law that restricts physical contact with a member of the opposite gender, is a frequently discussed topic amongst shidduch daters. However, despite all the discussion that revolves around being shomer, there is really nothing to debate on the subject. The bottom line is it’s a halacha (Sources: Bible: Leviticus 18:6 , Babylonian Talmud: Sabbath 13a , Mishneh Torah: Kedushah (Holiness), Issurei Biah (forbidden sexual relations), 21:1-7, Shulchan Aruch: Even HaEzer 20-21). One can choose to either abide by this halacha or not. That’s the end of discussion. However, the interesting thing about Shomer Negiah compared to other areas of halacha, is the level of discipline that is required in order to not transgress this particular law. While eating traif and violating the Sabbath are both big time aveyras, I can’t honestly say that eating a cheese burger or igniting a fire on the Sabbath have the same appeal for the large majority of us, as does physical contact with the opposite gender. I think my friend, Mike, described this challenge best when he quoted his Rebbe from Netiv Aryeh, as saying “Oz anybody who says they are Shomer Negiah after dating someone for 30 days is either a liar or gay!” While I may not agree with every word of that statement or other things that this Rav has to say, I think this statement has some validity to it. For any straight bachur or meidel who interacts with the opposite gender on a regular basis, abiding by this halacha can be very challenging. Over the years I have noticed that there are 5 general approaches in the Modern Orthodox community when it comes to the observance of the laws of Shomer Negiah: The Ignorant Approach, the Indifferent Approach, the Shtark Approach, the Humanistic Approach, and the Shomer Negiah by Default Approach.

Facebook Etiquette

Thanksgiving, as the name implies, is a time to give thanks and recognition to those people and things that one is thankful for. So as Thanksgiving weekend comes to an end, it is only natural that I sit in my room reflecting on the many things in life that I am personally thankful for. I am thankful for my friends and family who support me through all of life’s challenges. I am thankful to live in a country that allows me to practice my religious beliefs openly and freely. And I am thankful to my super, Ghelfis, who took the time out of his busy schedule last week to stop toilet water from dripping into my bedroom from the ceiling. One individual whose work I have admired consistently throughout the years, and would like to thank specifically is Mark Zuckerberg, the Founder and CEO of Facebook. Since April 17th 2005*, when Yeshiva University was finally zoche to received this ground breaking tool, anytime I sign on to Facebook (multiple times a day) I feel a sense of hakarat hatov to the man who changed social networking forever. Facebook has become an invaluable resource for networking, keeping in touch with friends, and dating. When the Orthodox Jewish community caught wind of this brilliant invention, it also changed the shidduch dating world as we know it. Facebook instantly allows one to find pictures of people, find out someone’s interests, determine someone’s chevra, and gives the stalker; oops I meant the searcher, the ability to contact anyone instantly. With such a powerful tool at the finger tips of tons of Orthodox bachrim and meidluch, you would expect the shidduch “crisis” to fix itself. However, despite all the good that has come from Facebook, it has also caused a new subculture of socializing, especially within Orthodox singles community. Although Facebook has every tool on the planet for stalking people, Mr. Zuckerberg, in his infinite wisdom, neglected to put a section on his site that discusses “Facebook Etiquette.” Facebook has many components and if I wanted to discuss every feature and its social ramifications, I will be here for weeks. However, I’d like to take the opportunity to breakdown just several common practices relating to Facebook and how they impact the shidduch scene. Mark can thank me for my work later…

Simchat Torah: Strategy + Game Plan = Success

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to reflect back on the holiday of Simchat Torah and I’ve come to the conclusion that the Chag is important for two reasons: 1) it’s the celebration of the completion of the Torah and 2) it’s the kickoff event for a brand new dating season! Summer vacation is over, the Chagim have finally come to an end, and for singles it means that it is finally time to hop back on the Shidduch Dating train, and what better way to welcome in a new Shidduch Dating season than by having a holiday where tons of single guys and girls come to shul looking for a mate? Most people tend to focus on the first aspect of the holiday, however, I believe that for the majority of singles, from elementary school and beyond, Simchat Torah is about meeting people of the opposite gender and the fact that we have just completed The Five Books of Moses is really just a side point. Regardless of your level of religious observance or regularity of synagogue attendance, EVERYBODY who is single makes an appearance in shul on Simchat Torah. It is the prime time for bashert hunting, but the problem is that many people don’t come out with any dates. After celebrating Simchat Torah 24x in cities and universities that span the country, I have finally determined the appropriate steps that a modern orthodox yid must take in order to have a successful holiday. The key is to have a strategy and a game plan!