“That’s pretty much the only way to describe it,” she explained. Wruble, who is Modern Orthodox, has found it hard being single in her community, with its emphasis on marriage and family.
(Her thinking behind the concept: Why not learn while you mingle? That kind of success started a domino effect, and other groups started similar programs.
“One group does it and then others start falling into place,” said Steinig.
Seven months later, YUConnects, an affiliate group of Yeshiva University, attracted 70 singles in their 20s and 30s to a private home in Riverdale, where a guest speaker told funny stories about his attempts at dating second time around.
And in both cases, the newly single may have children from their first marriage, which may scare off potential paramours.
Statistics about the number of Orthodox second-time singles are hard to come by. David Pelcovitz, professor of psychology and education at Yeshiva University, said that while there is no “reliable, solid, empirical source” for such information, “there’s a sense that there are more divorces.
It’s incredibly unscientific but, for example, when I give talks at rabbinical conferences, I ask, ‘How many of you have experienced a divorce in your community in the past few years? When I ask the people who are doing work in Jewish divorce courts, they tell me that they seem to be busier.” As second-time singles have become more visible, events tailored to their needs have started to spring up.“I would think there has always been a need for these programs,” said rebbetzin Judi Steinig, director of programming for the National Council of Young Israel. People need to find safe and enjoyable venues to connect with other people in similar situations.” Last year Steinig brought second-time singles together to learn about Israeli activism at the Young Israel Synagogue of Hillcrest in Flushing, Queens. She knew her husband Daniel, 24, had a heart condition—he had told her on their fifth date.But by that point, she was so in love with him that she brushed it aside as “no big deal,” and they married six months later.“That was the most amazing feeling, to be a wife and have a husband and to have that relationship,” she said.Eleven weeks after their wedding, Daniel dropped dead. I just really hope that it’s soon.” Wruble is part of a group known, in the lingo of the dating world, as second-time singles—people who have been widowed or divorced who are looking for new spouses.