NEW YORK (Yaakov M / VINnews) — Recently, Dr. Yosef Sokol released a breakthrough study about the Shidduch Crisis. He surveyed 15,000 people, and worked meticulously to ensure the accuracy of his results.

If correct, his data may challenge the “age-gap” theory (which is very logical but has not been statistically proven), and may point to alternative or additional causes of the crisis.

Either way, Dr. Sokol has triggered a contentious debate about the value and necessity of data and research.

As the frum community grows exponentially (BH), yeshivas are flourishing and thriving, more couples are marrying, yungerleit learning and becoming Rebbeim and Rabbonim, and a vast amount of Tzedaka is being donated.

With that said, growth brings new challenges and exacerbates the existing ones. It feels like we are facing new crises, with more lives impacted.

Yet because we lack the proper data–or ANY data–it is nearly impossible to know the magnitude of these crises, how many are impacted, and to identify the underlying root causes.

Which severely limits our ability to find solutions.

Instead we grope around, hypothesize, and rely on logic, instinct, and sometimes emotion. There has to be a better way.

Whether Dr. Sokol’s data is correct or not, one thing is clear. We need more data and studies, as he himself has said. Theories are good, but drastic solutions are being suggested, yet we do not have proof they will solve the crisis. In addition, there may be less drastic options which are even more effective.

Our community has vast resources and is highly sophisticated. We have state-of-the-art businesses and organizations in industries that include finance, real estate, health care, IT, law, foodservice, jewelry, and so many others.

It is inexplicable that we do not have conclusive research about a crisis which has plagued us for decades.

We should have the resources to fund and coordinate the research needed to identify the cause conclusively and find solutions.

And it’s not just the shidduch crisis. We face many crises, many people are reluctant to discuss openly, which is compounded by lack of data.

These include: drug use, OTD teens, abuse and molestation, bullying, overdoses, shalom bayis, the tuition crisis, device and technology addiction, teacher shortages, domestic abuse, kids not being accepted to yeshivas, and mental health problems.

There are rumors about drug use and overdose in the Charedi world which is kept hush-hush. What percentage of teens and adults are being impacted? How many children are not accepted to yeshiva each year? What percentage of children are being abused? Suffer from mental health issues? Are at-risk or OTD?

Every life is precious. But it is crucial to know, are we dealing with 10 people or possibly thousands? 1% or 15%?

And while many great organizations are tackling these issues–it is often reactionary, not preventive. Because we lack data, we intervene AFTER the problem arises, as opposed to adjusting or revamping the system to prevent it in the first place.

Regarding shidduchim, Dr. Sokol raised another critical observation. Whatever the underlying cause of the crisis, virtually all agree that too many boys and girls do not get married until their late twenties or thirties. Nobody seems to debate this.

Most of us know too many girls and boys who eventually find their match, but years later than they could have.

This is a crisis unto itself, and it begs the question, why are they not marrying sooner, since there is a match for them? Are they changing their standards with age? Not getting redt the proper shidduch? Some other factor?

It would seem that if we use data to determine why some boys and girls spend years dating, and others do not, we could focus on getting them married sooner.

I’m not saying it’s easy. But I think it is long overdue, and Baruch Hashem, Klal Yisrael is more equipped than ever to make this happen.

As reported by VINnews