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About a year ago, one of Jeff and Karen Cohns’ frequent Shabbos guests returned home from a date distraught and dismayed. She had been matched with a single young man who lived about four hours away, in New York. Not being in a position to travel, for whatever reason, he promised her that he would take her out a minimum of two times if she would travel to meet him.
After an investment of her time and money, not to mention emotions, her hopes were dashed when he told the shadchan that he would not take her out again after their first date. She poured her heart out to the Cohns about her devastating situation. They more than empathized with her, and pledged to make an ambitious effort to help not only her, but all single men and women who are struggling within today’s shomer Shabbos dating scene.
Older single girls and their parents perhaps best understand the problem, although it affects younger daters, too. It seems that even the least eligible bachelor has a long list of potential marriage partners, while the most eligible bachelorette must sit patiently by the telephone, hoping that someone will call to suggest a possible suitor. As every shadchan and parent of daters knows: “A boy needs a secretary, a girl needs an agent.”
However, countless men also face a variety of shidduchim challenges – especially those from small communities, which cause them to be left waiting and wondering if they will ever find their bashert.
Why is there an ever-growing list of Shomer Shabbos singles (especially girls), and why is it so difficult for them to meet and marry suitable life partners? Theories abound. The influence of secular media values, causing some singles to have unrealistic expectations and show inflexibility, is but one. But many singles may suffer from a simple lack of networking, their geographical location, or possibly from communication and presentation skills that might need work. Whatever the actual reasons, the fact remains that this singles population is getting larger and older.
The Cohns’ bas bayis was the inspiration behind the birth of The Shadchan magazine. Its premier edition, March-May 2007, circulated to over a half million readers in Shomer Shabbos communities throughout North America. It recently released its second (November 2007-January 2008) downloadable-only edition.
Highlighting modestly written singles’ profiles for professional and volunteer matchmakers, it puts these men and women of all ages, backgrounds and hashkafos on the radar screen of people around the world.
But this story does not end here. Thanks to The Shadchan magazine, the Cohns’ bas bayis found her bashert – who she married this month. Additionally she was the impetus behind the Cohns’ newly found nonprofit organization, the MakeAShidduch Foundation. Working with frum singles of all ages across the globe, its various programs pick up where other well-meaning organizational efforts have left off.
Some of the foundation’s programs include: ShidduchVision, live interactive video conferencing that allows singles to meet on screen in a face-to-face pre-date – helping them decide if they should invest the time and money to travel and meet in person; Shidduch University, that provides in-person, online and teleconferencing opportunities for improvement of communication strategies and presentation; and Strike-A-Match, a weekly “mini-Shabbaton” held in the natural setting of hosts’ Shabbos tables. This provides a venue whereby singles can expand their networking opportunities.
Thanks to the kindness of MakeAShidduch Foundation’s volunteers, the cost of some of its programs and services will be free or nominal.
To learn more, volunteer or become a sponsor, contact MakeAShidduch Foundation at 888-SHADCHAN, or visit www.MakeAShidduchFoundation.org.