We can learn a lesson from the mandate of homeland security to Americans everywhere – keep your eyes and ears open, and share what you feel is noteworthy with those who can act on your information.
In terms of shidduchim, every heimishe individual should keep their eyes open, and if they become aware of someone unmarried in their shul, at college, at a shiur, etc., talk to your friends and relatives and neighbors, and see if you can find someone to set him/her up with.
In a previous column, I pointed out my strong belief that an effective way to make shidduchim was for young couples to invite their single friends to a Shabbat meal and have them start to get to know each other via casual schmoozing at the table. The husband could invite three of his friends, the wife three of hers, as well as two married couples. In this non-pressured, not in the spot light environment “Reuven, Shimon and Levy” and “Sara, Rifka and Rachel” could participate in the flow of the conversation and get to know one another, a critical first step that could lead to a date and a marriage. Even if none of the singles “clicked,” Reuven could walk away convinced that his shy cousin Yanki would really hit it off with a talkative girl like Sara. Likewise, Rifka who is looking for a long time learner, might think Shimon, the lawyer who loves hiking, is too modern for her, but would be perfect for her dentist cousin, Hila, the cross country skier.
For those who might not be comfortable with having both genders seated at the table, they could instead invite a group of the husband’s single friends, along with a married couple or two for a meal. The following week would be the girls’ turn. The hosting couple and the married couples who met both the boys and girls could compare notes and make shidduch suggestions.
But why limit these “getting to know you” events to young couples? Married people of all ages can, and should, make the effort to get to know the unmarried men and women in their communities and share their awareness of these individuals with others. In today’s world of instant communication via e-mail, text messaging and Skype, people can describe the singles they spoke to at their Shabbat table, and ask their siblings, friends and married children in other cities and communities if they have any potential matches.
A great majority of these suggestions will not pan out, and the two individuals set up will go their separate ways – but at the end of the day, it does not have to have been for naught. When a couple on a date realize they are not right for each other, they have a great opportunity, since they got to know each other a little better, to set each other up with someone else. Meeting a new person for a few hours does not have to end up being a waste of your time or money; it can be someone else’s yeshua. I have heard of many matches made that way – when someone on a date that did not work out was thoughtful enough to set the person up with a friend they felt was more their type.
Many singles complain that they get emotionally burnt out from dating over and over again with no happy outcome. Perhaps seeing the experience as a way to help someone else get married can add a positive dimension to it.
Married or single, everyone can be a shadchan. All you have to do is care.