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‘Over the Hill’ at 24?

If you’re Orthodox and female and live on the Upper West Side, how old do you have to be to qualify as “over the hill”?

“If you’re not married, let’s say, by the age of 24, 25, there’s something wrong with you,” explained one of the talking heads featured in the trailer of J.J. Adler’s recent documentary, “Unattached” — a selection of this summer’s Rooftop Films series. The short film centers on the often-overwhelming pressure placed on young, Orthodox women to wed — an issue that I dealt with some years ago in this article.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, who heads up the Orthodox outreach organization Hineni, and also makes an appearance in the film, provided a slightly more generous over-the-hill timeline. “You reach the age of 26, 27, people start wondering, ‘How come she’s still around?’” she said.

Adler spoke with Heeb magazine’s Web site this week about the origins of the so-called shidduch crisis that was the impetus for her film:

The situation is a crisis because the older [women] get, the fewer options they have for dating, because the pool of men is so small. They feel more marginalized and that they don’t have any options, as opposed to the men, who feel like they become more valuable. You’ve got the same situation in the regular world. The difference is, the community is so tiny. If these women are hoping to stay within the community, they can reach a point where they’ve dated every eligible man.

Read the eye-opening Q&A in its entirety here.

Watch the “Unattached” trailer below.

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