She came up with the idea of a singles network that caters exclusively to single Orthodox Christians.
Called “Orthodox Christian Singles,” the organization is compiling a list of Orthodox singles who wish to meet other singles of their faith.
But much of what we know about disordered eating in the Orthodox community comes from anecdotal evidence.
Sarah Bateman, a licensed social worker who is the liaison to the Jewish community for the Renfrew Center, one of the oldest eating disorder treatment institutions in the country, tells SELF that her professional interests stemmed from what she witnessed at her own Orthodox school.
There are other types of organizations for unmarrieds, single parents etc., but this one is for those to whom their Orthodox faith is an important part of their lives.
Begun in the Spring of 1984, the group’s membership already is over 100, with a wide range of ages and ethnic backgrounds including Russian, Ukrainians, Greeks, Serbians, etc.
Even though she’s a professional fitness trainer, because she is not textbook thin (she described herself as “a plus-sized woman” to one matchmaker), she is regularly told she should lose weight to increase her marriage prospects.“I have definitely gotten, ‘You know, if you lose weight, it will be easier to find guys who will go out with you,’ ” she says. The system of [matchmaking] has remained pretty much the same throughout—but what has shifted now is the vision of beauty.”Levinson argues that the unhealthy focus on thinness is a testament to the power of mainstream media images.
“[They think] if you're chubby when you're five, it will be hard to grow out of it, and you're going to be a fat 18 year old.”According to the Pew Research Center, 68 percent of Orthodox Jews and 75 percent of Haredi (the most traditionally observant) Jews in America marry at the age of 24 or younger, compared to 33 percent of the overall population of Jewish Americans.
Data on eating disorders within the Jewish community, and especially the Orthodox community, is nearly impossible to find.
More information is available by writing to: Orthodox Christian Singles P.
Sara* can't remember a time in her life when she wasn’t on a diet.