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In a previous generation, Tina may not have entered university or the workforce and, even if she had, she likely would not have been expected to be self-sufficient.But as new economic and social paradigms have come into play over the previous half-century or so, as marriage has become simply another way for women to lead a fulfilling life, as opposed to a necessity for attaining a basic standard of living, more and more people are looking beyond the narrow set of expectations that they feel were laid out for them.Cantor Cheryl Wunch, whose main congregation is Shaarei Beth-El in Oakville, Ont., is another Canadian Jew who is single by choice.At 38, she is content with the fact that a long-term romantic relationship may not be her path in life. “Ten years ago, I was dating with the hopes that the person I was dating would turn into the husband. And that’s not to say that I’m not open to that, but I’m also open to the other possibilities,” she said.His recent decision to give up dating stems at least partially from his disillusionment with the patterns of modern romantic encounters – especially through websites and apps. You feel dejected, and your self-worth, being attached to a relationship, especially within our culture, is really disheartening.” Schwartz is one of a number of Jewish Canadians who are opting out, for one reason or another, of the traditional model of long-term relationships.“Eventually, the swiping pattern became a cure for boredom,” he said. The last comprehensive study of Canadian Jewish demographics, the National Household Survey (2011) Study: The Jewish Population of Canada, was written by Charles Shahar and Randal Schnoor for Jewish Federations of Canada – UIA in 2014, using data from the 2011 census.She’s based in Caledon, Ont., northwest of Toronto, and works for a Jewish educational organization that requires her to travel.For the moment, she has decided to prioritize her profession over a romantic relationship.
Tina’s situation is not unique among young adults, said Libby Bear, who just finished her Ph D thesis, titled Singlehood by Choice or by Necessity, at Bar-Ilan University in Israel.
According to the study, the last 30 years has seen “growing numbers of single adults in the population,” owing to the fact that “the centrality of marriage has declined in general in North American society.” The incidence of singlehood among the adult population is not a uniquely Jewish phenomenon.
But the study found that Jewish young adults aged 18 to 26 had a much lower likelihood of being in a steady relationship, compared to their non-Jewish counterparts.
“Another reason is that economic change made it more difficult for young adults to attain economic stability.
And the other reason is that there is a normative change with respect to the institute of marriage,” meaning other, non-marital relationships are becoming legitimized.