'The Art of the Deal'

Preferences in Spouse Selection among Parents in a Hasidic Community

in Israel Studies Review
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This article examines the considerations that guide parents in an extreme Hasidic community with regard to mate selection for their children. Findings of the study indicate that an appreciable number of factors deal with personal aspects of a prospective match, such as age, external appearance, intellectual abilities, and genetic compatibility, while some concern the family of an intended match, for example, the family's financial status, lineage, and general history of health. Conspicuous by its absence is any consideration of the compatibility of the couple themselves. Gender differences are significant in relation to the importance of the different variables. The study findings reflect the prevalent attitude in ultra-Orthodox society that sees marriage for the most part as a contractual agreement between families, demonstrating that this is, in effect, a barter system between two parties—the families of the projected couple.

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