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January 27, 2015 / 7 Shevat, 5775
 
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Interview With A Shadchan (Part II)

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I find both sides to be equally challenging. But there is always one side that is more willing to move forward and another side that needs to be nudged. No difference in gender. Generally speaking, a boy’s side is more anxious to do a shidduch, while a girl’s side is much more relaxed and willing to see what else is “out there.”

In your experience so far, what has been the most outlandish criterion ever set by a party prior to agreeing to a match?

The most outlandish by far was a father of a girl who asked the boy to adhere to their family’s tradition of not eating red meat, and it was non-negotiable. This was after the boy and girl had already met twice. Needless to say, the shidduch was off. But other unrealistic expectations include relocating, wearing the same headgear as the other side, demanding support and apartments, etc.

Your work in shadchanus seems to revolve around local residents (you mentioned being familiar with most of the people you encounter). Notwithstanding that “local” can feasibly encompass residents numbering in the thousands, shidduchim with out-of-towners – sometimes from as far away as across the ocean – is not a rarity. How often have you found yourself involved in such a circumstance?

I once did a shidduch overseas, but that involved a cousin of mine who lives in Vienna. Economical calling cards for long distance communication are easy to come by, but I spent many a sleepless night juggling the time difference. I remember being exhausted to the bone when that shidduch was done. Recently, I was involved in a shidduch with a Canadian on one side. All I can say is that trying to set up a meeting place that would suitably accommodate both parties was a real challenge! But I do stick to local for the most part.

Do you mean to say that if a chassidish family from overseas desiring to do an American shidduch would contact you, you’d be reluctant to take it on?

I would definitely have to be up for the challenge.


[i] Before parents of the boy formally meet the girl and her parents, and vice-versa, an unofficial convenient-for-both-sides setup is arranged, where the parents of either side can get a bird’s eye view of girl / boy — as at a wedding or in a supermarket. This is to rule out an “it’s-not-happening.”

 

[ii] The boy and girl meeting for a formal sit-in is usually an indicator of a prospective shidduch heading in a positive direction — for at that point, compatibility in every other way has already been assessed.

 

Conclusion in next week’s column…

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