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’”Shelli says she told her now-husband when they were dating, and, though surprised, he was very supportive.

For years after their marriage, though, she did not disclose her long bout with bulimia to his family.“Being Orthodox and struggling with this or any kind of mental illness in general is a very scary thing, because you think you're going to be excluded from the community and that people are going to judge you—and sometimes, people do.”Shelli has started sharing her experiences not only with her family, but as a volunteer speaker for various eating disorder groups.

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.

She points to how “ubiquitous the thin ideal is that even in this insular community these messages have come across—even with people who don't have television and don't have access to the internet, this message of [the] thin ideal has seeped in so deeply.”In the Orthodox community, not only can size hinder one’s marriage prospects, but so can the stigma of having received treatment for an eating disorder.

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Putting Traditional (Orthodox outlook) Jewish Values Back Into Jewish Dating...

Putting Traditional Jewish Values Back Into Jewish Dating...“What struck me was that everyone seemed to know about it and no one was talking about it.”“Whether or not they are textbook eating disorders, there's a lot of unhealthy eating habits happening,” Sharon Weiss-Greenberg, the executive director of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, tells SELF.“I can't think of anyone who doesn't know numerous people [that suffer from disordered eating].”While Orthodox men are not immune to suffering from eating disorders (just as they aren't in the secular world), the pressure to woo the opposite sex often falls on women because of what's known within the Orthodox community as the “ (matchmaking) crisis,” or the perceived courtship imbalance caused by an excess of available single women.However, she says that she still keeps a “low profile” within her own community, admitting that some of her good friends don’t even know about the eating disorder in her past.“It's a huge struggle, and it's not just about ' I want to be skinny,' ” Shelli says.JDate is an ideal destination for Jewish men and Jewish women to make connections, and find friends, dates and soul mates, all within the faith.With hundreds of thousands of members, fun and easy online features, fantastic offline activity options (including, travel and events), JDate is the number one place for Jewish romance in the world!Jewish Friend Finder site is to make it as easy as possible for you to meet Jewish people, using the power of the internet.Sara* can't remember a time in her life when she wasn’t on a diet.In fact, growing up in her Orthodox Jewish community, trying to lose weight was as routine as any other ritual.Data on eating disorders within the Jewish community, and especially the Orthodox community, is nearly impossible to find.A 2011 report cited an unpublished 1996 study of an Orthodox high school in Brooklyn, where eating disorders among girls in the school were reported to be about 50 percent higher than the national rate at the time.

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