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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

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A Matchmaker’s Heartfelt Words…

Dear Rachel,

On behalf of my fellow shadchanim, I’d like to express my frustration at having mothers of single daughters and sons call only about their daughters, claiming to be “overloaded” with ideas for their sons who “take suggestions only from their ‘rebbeim or roshei yeshiva.’”

To moms of single boys and girls: Unless we happen to be married to these rebbeim or roshei yeshiva who have sole exclusivity to information about your boys, how do you expect us to come up with ideas for your girls? Stands to reason that by sharing information about both your eligible sons and eligible daughters, you would be helping shadchanim find suitable shidduchim for other available singles and your own.

Some pointers for singles…

“Flexibility” is often the key to facilitate meeting up with one’s bashert. If you are a young lady looking for a “full time learner” and a working boy who is machshiv Torah and frum in every way comes along, you’d be wise not to dismiss him out of hand. Many girls have found that they have held out for a “learning boy” to their own detriment; you’d be surprised at how quickly the years go by.

Same for the single female who insists on a “professional.” A young man who works but not in a “standard professional” setting may nonetheless prove himself to be a most compatible life partner. Saying “no” off the bat may not be in your best interest, whereas a more open-minded approach – at a younger age when the availability of single boys still plays to your advantage – may save you heartache at a later age.

Adjusting the “model” of one’s visualized intended may not be the easiest thing to do. But since only Hashem knows who is meant to be your bashert, your best bet would be to focus on a potential shidduch candidate’s character traits and thereby assess his or her potential for being a good and responsible husband/wife and father/mother.

Not your “look” or “personality type”? Give it a chance and you might be in for a pleasant surprise. In fact, look around at your friends and their marriage partners; how many ended up with the kind of person you would have never imagined for them? Obviously they put some of the things on their wish list aside and focused on more important factors.

One more point: If you go out on a date, please get back to the shadchan as soon as possible afterward. Keeping either party waiting for an answer is unfair, and the shadchan should not have to chase after the single to hear what he or she has to say.

A special message to the guys who have been going out for what seems like forever: At a singles event, don’t just pay attention to the pretty and bubbly girls (whom you may not necessarily win dates with). By being more realistic and broad-minded, you will increase your chances of making it to the chuppah … and sooner rather than later, at that.

A few words for others…

If you are called as a reference for someone and are unavailable to come to the phone, please return the call as soon as possible. Taking a long time to get back to the shadchan doesn’t look very good for the single.

Be careful about what you say. Your words can make or break a shidduch idea. When in doubt, think about what you would want said – or not said – if it was your daughter or son being spoken about. There are instances when halacha demands forthrightness, even if the information is negative. If you are unsure about [sharing] an issue, consult with a halachic authority before getting back to the caller.

If someone solicits your opinion on pairing Teeny Dini with Beryl Shmeryl, don’t be quick to nix the idea. Again, check out the married couples around you. Can you honestly say you would have thought of all of them as pairs?

With all due respect to rebbeim and other mentors of single men and women, how advisable is it really to urge single girls to hold out for a learning boy — especially when they have already been dating unsuccessfully for an extended period of time? About as prudent, I would say, as encouraging young men to hold out for financial support for any number of years of full-time learning, or fueling their desire to learn only in Eretz Yisrael after marriage. These well-intentioned pieces of advice have actually hindered many a single from a fruitful encounter at an earlier more ideal stage in life. Priorities must be weighed: Is it more important to have more years of full-time Torah learning, in or out of Eretz Yisrael, or to see more Bnos Yisrael married and more Jewish children brought into this world?

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


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