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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 9/15/06

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We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.

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Dear Rachel,

I am a 36-year-old Italian Jew from Northeast Philadelphia. My occupation is in education. I am Conservative-to-Modern Orthodox religiously. I go to several Orthodox synagogues in my area and have been unable to meet someone. Family and children are very important to me, and at my age (not to sound like a woman) it is time to settle down. I have consulted the local rabbis, and they always tell me I’m not there yet maybe in a few years. By then I’ll be a senior citizen, and it will be too late. I celebrate Shabbat every weekend, try to stay kosher and wear tefillin and tzitzis. I have tried the popular shidduch sites, have been to singles mixers and speed dating – all to no avail.

People in the neighborhood have also set me up with several dates, but they were not compatible. I must say that I do not wish to end up like some of the residents here, who seem happy on the outside but are really not. These are the single, never-marrieds, with no children, in their late 30’s-to-early 50’s.

I would like to start a singles group in the area and need advice on how to do so. This is a great community if you have a family or are married, but seems to offer nothing if you are single.

Thanks again for any advice/help you can give. Also if you know a single woman age 21-35 who is looking for an honest, caring, fun and reliable man, please let me know. Thanks.

Dear Rachel,

I have my MSW (Masters in Social Work) and am in the process of obtaining my licensing soon, G-d Willing. I am always intrigued by the interesting questions and comments you receive. I am a mature (well, for the most part) male single and find myself (as I’m sure many others do) in a constant struggle between my physical drives and my “higher” spiritual side. It gets to the point at times where I’m literally on the brink of insanity, trying to control my evil impulses.

Some time ago, a good friend of mine suggested a book entitled The Light of Ephraim, by Simcha H. Benyosef. I was fascinated by the fact that it actually discusses these problems at length and attempts to give the reader not so much as a solution (G-d Knows the only real solution is to get married and even then, from what I’ve heard, it is still a problem) as much as ideas and suggestions on how to curb one’s physical “appetite.”

While reading the book, I had this idea of forming a discussion forum/group for single, observant men who find themselves experiencing similar challenges. Quite frankly, I personally have tried almost everything else that I could possibly think of, and this is the only idea that I have not yet put to practice.

Essentially, my objective is to have “learning classes” where some guys would meet on a weekly basis for one hour. This time could be divided into about three or more segments that would include an open forum on how we can improve the singles crisis, tips on dating, etc.

Added incentives can include refreshments and speakers. I need some advice, suggestions and (constructive criticism?) as to how to proceed. If anyone is interested in finding out more about this idea or to contribute his own input / suggestions, please send e-mail to Chazak5765@hotmail.com.

Thank you.

Dear Lonely Guys,

Though this column was not designed to act as a bulletin for singles ads, your appeals – and appeal – have won me over. Each of you seems to have something individually unique to offer, and perhaps someone within our wide reading audience has the wherewithal to assist you in realizing your honorable goals.

Your hishtadlus is most praiseworthy, but one mustn’t forget to leave some juggling up to Hashem. Sincere and heartfelt prayer coupled with a genuine emunah in His capability to “pull the strings” will ease your anxieties and make life more serene as you await the telling moment.

To paraphrase a commentary by the devout Satmar Rebbe, R’ Yoel Teitelbaum z”l: The Gemara says that the “pairing of zivugim is as complex as the splitting of the sea.” Why Krias Yam-Suf, one may ask – were there not other miracles that could have been used as a parallel?

We learn from Chazal that the stage was set for Krias Yam-Suf during Sheshes Y’mei Braishis – when Hashem created the world. The sea was given its orders way back then to split at a given moment and not a moment sooner. The first individuals to leap into the waters were submerged up to their necks, for that moment had not yet arrived. But when it did, the waters parted smoothly and effortlessly – a phenomenon that had seemed unlikely to occur just seconds earlier.

Correspondingly, when it comes to a shidduch, one must exercise patience while awaiting the defining, predestined moment. For as with Krias Yam-Suf, when the right moment (for zivugim to come together) presents itself, it is palpably sensed and smooth sailing prevails.

May you both soon set sail on your voyage through life with your intended, with the waters of Torah as your guide!

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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