I received the following e-mail from Moshe Coan, a shadchan and founder of ZivugZone.com, an Orthodox dating website with almost 6,000 members:
Dear Dr. Respler:
A prominent shadchan recently articulated a dilemma she’s facing. My response stresses my formulation of a comprehensive strategy to address the problems she and other shadchanim are attempting to overcome. In short, all of us must do whatever we can to generate novel approaches to helping frum singles find their basherts. I hope that my actions will be a catalyst for others to get involved in this great mitzvah.
Here is the shadchan’s e-mail:
Dear Mr. Coan:
I am writing to you because hardly a day goes by in which I am not approached by either a single or a single’s parent bemoaning how few potential matches are redt to the single.
The single or parent tells me how difficult and painful it is to rarely hear the phone ring with a dating suggestion. I tell them that I am doing my best, but am only one person with knowledge of only so many singles. While I get new clients regularly and meet new singles when I am away for Yom Tov, I still only have approximately a few hundred people on my database. And even that relatively small number can be almost unmanageable since it is very difficult to have hundreds of people in the forefront of my mind simultaneously. As a result, some of my registered singles will invariably fall off my radar.
I will sometimes shift the conversation and ask them what they have done in terms of self-advocacy (besides simply relying on me and several other shadchanim). The phone often goes silent as the single or parent struggles to answer. When finally able to reply, he or she tells me that not knowing where to turn has forced him or her to seek my help.
I will refer the person to other reputable shadchanim with whom I’m familiar, but more often than not the single or parent is already working with him or her.
Mr. Coan, do you have some ideas that I could pass on to these frustrated singles? What more could our community do to expand shidduch opportunities for our children?
I commiserated with her difficult position and told her what I think is the key to alleviating the current singles matzav. I said that I believe that the most effective mechanism to improving the current situation is what I have termed the “sharing” of databases, whereby shadchanim share the situation of their singles with one another.
In my view, the concept of maintaining an exclusive proprietary mindset whereby the shadchan feels fiercely protective of her private list should be relegated to the past. Shadchanim will be much more effective in increasing their number of shidduchim if they join forces by sharing their databases. Everyone would benefit. The synergistic effect of shadchanim working en masse would be overwhelming and would give so much hope and encouragement to forlorn singles waiting by their phones. Instead of having access to only, let’s say, 300 singles, a single whose shadchan participates in one of these clearinghouses will be exposed to thousands of singles who may be suitable matches.
Finally, I told her that my website, ZivugZone.com, has just launched an initiative called the ShadchanZone. I have assembled almost 100 shadchanim with whom I share profiles of select ZivugZone members who have opted into this program. She was so excited by the concept that she immediately joined ShadchanZone as a participating shadchan.
Dr. Respler, it would be a great service to the klal if you publicize this concept of shadchan collaboration through your Jewish Press column and during your public speaking engagements. In order to end the singles crisis, we must not work in isolation. Collaboration is imperative; we should constantly emphasize and promote this.”