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April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

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The Orchestrating Of Shidduchim
is as daunting as the splitting of the sea… (Sanhedrin 22:1)

Though ultimately we know that Hashem is in charge of pairing zivugim, He entrusts His earthly messengers with the task of setting things in motion. While many of us lay-shadchanim can count our triumphant outcomes in the single digits (some of us having woefully nary a one to our credit), a vivacious and immensely popular chassidishe woman keeps racking them up — seemingly effortlessly, with bubbling enthusiasm.

What is her secret, I’ve often wondered… When I approached R.B. directly, she graciously consented to be interviewed. Her candid remarks are sure to offer the reader invaluable insight, in addition to an up-close look into the workings of matchmaking from a chassidic perspective.

The bottom line goal of professional and amateur shadchanim alike – whether of Chassidish, Litvish, Modern Orthodox, or Yeshivish persuasion – is the same: to assist in pairing zivugim that were meant to be together in life since forty days before their debut in this world (when one’s eizer kenegdo is divinely designated).

Read and be inspired…

Rachel: You’ve Baruch Hashem met with much hatzlacha in your noble pursuit. Would you attribute your success to being blessed with a) good mazel; b) a personality that lends itself to the task; c) perseverance and diligence; d) all of the above…

RB: d – all of the above. Instinctively I was going for b (a personality that lends itself to the task), for in order to be a shadchan one definitely needs to be very sociable, a people’s person. But in reality, it’s all of the above. (A) good mazel – because sometimes my most weird and, to my mind, unrealistic suggestions are the ones that end up as success stories, whereas some I’ve believed to be among my most brilliant recommendations are immediately nixed. Some parents really need a push, and that’s where perseverance (c) comes into the picture.

Your focus lies mainly in the chassidish arena. Has this had any impact on you vis-à-vis your gender (as a female)? Has being a woman hindered you in any way?

Absolutely none whatsoever; I communicate with males and females on an equal basis. When I call the home number, the mother is usually the one who takes the call at first, but many times it will be the father who takes the follow-up calls. Sometimes I speak to both parents simultaneously.

How did you get into shadchanis in the first place, and can you recall how long it took for you to meet with your first successful venture?

I honestly never dreamed of being a shadchan. My first shidduch actually caught me by surprise. I was a young mother of toddler twins (as you can imagine, my hands were full) and we were spending the summer in a bungalow colony. My next-door neighbor had a bochur over one Shabbos. As we engaged in small talk, I discovered that he was her brother and was bein z’manim from yeshiva. She also happened to mention how perplexed she was that no shidduchim were being redt to him at the time. That was rather odd, since the bochur came across like a real ehrlich type and was very handsome looking.

At the same time, I knew of a cousin of mine who was in need of a shidduch and very nonchalantly suggested this bochur to my aunt. I was so taken aback when this shidduch went through several weeks later!

Following that ‘accidental’ initial triumph, did you set up shop as an official shadchan?

After that shidduch a different cousin of mine with two older single boys called me. Chany was thinking of starting a shidduch group for young women like me just starting out in the field. Her goal was to get about twenty of us together on a monthly basis to share our lists of boys and girls in need of shidduchim, and to also have an occasional motivational speaker give us chizuk. In this zchus, she hoped that her two sons would find their basherts soon. (In the chassidish world, boys are the ones who experience more difficulty…)

At that first meeting I felt like an outsider. I was the youngest woman there by far (in my early twenties); most of the women were in their thirties and forties and toting fat notebooks, printed computerized lists, index boxes, coordinating blue and pink papers. It was some sight! Almost ten years later I still join the meetings on a monthly basis, and yes, the founder’s two bochurim got engaged not long thereafter.

Many of us women have formed such close friendships that we take part in one another’s simchas. Needless to say, several shidduchim have been concluded as a result of these meetings. As a matter of fact, I completed two shidduchim together with another woman from the group. Recently, I was privileged to be the shadchan to my cousin Chany’s daughter!

Do you (or did you) ever set up a match between girl and boy whom you have not personally met with or interviewed beforehand, just going by info given you by second or third parties?

For the most part, I work with families that I know, or know of. I have also done multiple shidduchim for some families. I usually do not know the girls or boys personally (especially the boys) and go mostly by information that I gather. For starters, I try to see that the families are compatible and then take it from there.

Do you find that your achievements serve as learning experiences as you go along to better prepare you for the next round, or would you say that the process comes naturally to you?

I definitely learn from my experiences. I know what to say, what not to say, and when to say it. Intimidation from people who are hard to deal with is no longer there, and my confidence is reinforced with each successive shidduch accomplished, so that when I think of the next suggestions I really feel like “I CAN DO THIS!”

To be cont’d…

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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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