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Unread 02-10-2011, 11:11 AM   #1
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how are jewish/family values combined with secular values/ plans

in Judaism and Hasidic communities, how is getting married having a family and following Jewish values successfully navigated with secular values and plans, my reason for asking is in the secular world most people tend to want to go to uni travel and do what they want to, and then get married whereas in the Jewish world it seems that getting married and having a family and what have you is seen as priority, that is all very well but what if they want to do something different such as travel, Iím not condemning Jewish values but Iím not sure as to whether it is always necessarily right and Iíve wondered how following Jewish values and doing what you want in life are navigated.

if the person wants to do something different will they quite happily sacrifice this for getting married and having a family
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Unread 02-10-2011, 12:35 PM   #2
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Re uni: It's hard to generalise, so I'll say that in some groups attending university is encouraged even before marriage, in others it is discouraged until marriage but not after, and in still others it is discouraged even after marriage.

In general, Orthodox Jews are encouraged to find ways (sometimes more creativity is necessary) to express their personal talents and aspirations in constructive ways for the Jewish community and for society in general, without conflicting with the priority of maintaining a family. Sometimes guidance is necessary to combine and/or balance the two.
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Unread 02-10-2011, 01:40 PM   #3
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There is a push to marry quickly in the Jewish world for a lot of reasons. The generic answer is probably just that Orthodox Jews have different priorities, but that answer is probably not satisfying to you. A couple of other big ones that come to mind:

(1) The hope is that both men and women will make better decisions if they have the help of a partner. So doing things like university, seeing the world or just having fun will be done in the best possible way.
(2) A big part of all of the "fun" you described in secular circles includes dating to satisfy a normal and healthy desire to be with someone of the opposite sex. Torah Judaism does take issue with the notion of casual dating.
(3) There is a common desire for large families in Jewish circles... having a large family often neccesitates starting young.
(4) A Jewish life (we like to think) is a more fulfilling life. So there is less focus on superficial pleasure seeking in favor of the real quality happiness that comes with starting a family.
(5) The way orthodox Jewish men and women meet each other tends to run more smoothly in the earlier years, so there is some concern that waiting too long will make finding a good match more difficult.

With all of that said. Occassionally in our circles you see young people pushed into marriage too soon for any number of reasons. The result of such unions can be very sad (bad relationships, divorce, poor parenting, etc.) It is important not to marry until you are ready... but that does not mean you can't be ready at 18.

Also, there is nothing wrong with university, travel, etc. You have to make sure you have your priorities straight. And, as Noah says, with a little creativity most of those things are still possible after marriage.
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