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Dr. Jack Cohen is an international marriage and dating expert whose lectures, columns, advice, and events are sought out by singles and couples needing assistance in navigating the choppy waters of relationships. Although based in New York, he frequently travels all over the world dispensing his practical advice and helping people meet and keep their soul mates. The Jewish Press recently met with Dr. Cohen in his newly decorated office space to find out how he does it.



You have a very interesting background. Can you share with our readers a bit about your family?

My father’s family was originally from Syria. They migrated to Yerushalayim and then to Cairo. My mother’s father was born and raised in Odessa, Ukraine. He ran away as a refugee after the communists took over Russia to the northern coast of Africa in Cairo, where he married a local Sephardic woman. My parents met in Cairo and we were raised in Egypt. Interestingly, my father was considered Sephardi and my mother Ashkenazi. We experienced a very nice life until the Six-Day War. Jews were being persecuted, which made it difficult to live there. My father and all other Jewish males were put in jail by the dictator of Egypt, Gamal Nasser. Nasser was furious and wanted revenge because when the war had broken out, the IDF had miraculously destroyed all of the Egyptian planes. His way of revenge was to arrest all of the Jewish males and concoct some story in an attempt to execute all of them. But miraculously they were saved.

I’ll tell you the interesting background story. After the Six-Day War broke out and the Jews were incarcerated, there was a lead story in The New York Times that they were going to be executed. The Rosh HaYeshiva of the Mirrer Yeshiva of Brooklyn saw the Times story and he called up the United States State Department furiously arguing what the government was going to do about that. Interestingly, the person who answered the phone, Nathan Lewin, was a law clerk and a law student at Harvard University. When the rabbi called him up, he was clueless as to what to do. It was erev Shabbos, Friday afternoon, and Mr. Lewin began driving to Virginia where he was living. Suddenly, a Virginia State patrol officer pulls him over and tells him that the State Department was looking for him and he needs to return to them because a rabbi keeps calling from New York and they don’t know what to do. Mr. Lewin went back to the State Department and his supervisor asked him what they should do since the rabbi keeps calling.

Suddenly Mr. Lewin came up with a brilliant idea. He had read somewhere that the fascist dictator of Spain, Franco, had tremendous remorse for what happened to the Jews in Spain during the Spanish Inquisition and he felt bad about it and was looking to make amends for that. Jumping on that thought, Mr. Lewin said he would like to call him. He called him and said, “We have a serious crisis with all the Jewish people in Egypt. They’re being threatened with physical annihilation. Would you, sir, go ahead and issue passports to them that will immediately make them Spanish citizens which will give them the freedom to leave the country?” They were all issued Spanish passports, including my father. We quickly got our luggage and found our father waiting for us on a big freight boat going to Barcelona. From there we were routed to Paris and ultimately to the United States. That’s a bit of an interesting story that shows you that the Jewish people have Hashem looking over them and as a result it’s He who keeps us alive and He who maintains our existence.

Do you think having a Sephardi father and Ashkenazi mother perhaps ignited something in you about how to make relationships work?

Definitely! When you have two different cultures coming together to fuse into one integrated household, sacrifices must be made and an open mind needs to be demonstrated because when you have different backgrounds, it can create more challenges in life. As the old saying goes, “Common backgrounds lead to common expectations in marriage.” When you have parents with different outlooks and different attitudes, it adds to the mosaic. Also, by having a Sephardi father and Ashkenazi mother, I can appreciate how Sephardim date and Ashkenazim date. Interestingly, in my dating practice, Sephardi clients tend to date more based on intuition and Ashkenazi clients tend to date more based on analytics and doing a critical analysis.

You are a trained orthopedic surgeon. How did you get involved with shidduchim? What makes you qualified to speak on this subject?

It started at the young age of 12 when I became associated with one of the leading rabbis of the last 100 years, Rav Avigdor Miller. He was a genius in human relations and I sucked up as much knowledge as I could learn from him. Moving forward in life, I had the pleasure to become very close with Rabbi Shalom Arush. He wrote bestselling books such as The Garden of Emuna, The Garden of Peace, and The Garden of Women’s Wisdom. Over the years, I also volunteered extensively in local synagogues teaching and training many young men. I used to teach lots of classes on Chumash, Mishna, and Gemara in yeshivas as a volunteer for boys who were coming home from Israel. Many of them asked me questions on dating. I had the pleasure of standing under many of their chuppahs. At one point over 25 years ago, I began reading almost every article and many books on the subject. I then accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and helped hundreds if not thousands over the years get to the chuppah. I’ve given over 2,000 lectures, have over 1,000 YouTube videos, and have written 600 articles on the subject of dating and marital harmony. I think all of this provides me with the knowledge needed to support those looking for answers.

You are very proud of being a student of Rabbi Miller and Rabbi Arush. What impact did they have on your life?

They had a tremendous impact on my life because both men were incredible scholars, especially in human relations. Rabbi Miller was known to be a very astute human being, someone who understood people and their needs very well. He lectured extensively on human relations. I learned a tremendous amount from him. Rabbi Arush is a great mind. He is someone who infuses the world of Chassidic thought with a basic profile of Judaism. Both men have helped thousands and thousands of people in their dating and marital lives. They were very influential and have played a critical role in developing me into a dating and marital expert.

Do you agree that we are in a “shidduch crisis?” And if so, what is the cause?

The term “shidduch crisis” really doesn’t sit well with me. Recently I read an article that really resonated with me. An actuary and an accountant both decided to study population figures from 1996-2022 in the city of Lakewood, NJ. They wanted to attack this area of the shidduch crisis and determine if there really was such a thing. They studied population and birth rates from [those years]. They came up with a big shocker of an answer. We would’ve thought there would have been many more girls born compared to men. But in actuality the numbers were very different. For every 107 boys born there were 100 girls born, which means the myth thinking there were more girls than boys was shattered. They also discovered that the average age differential [in shidduchim] is that the boy is about 2.5 years older than the girl. Based on those findings they found that there’s a suitable shidduch for 99.8% of the Jewish population. So why do we have a shidduch crisis today? Not because there’s a problem in numbers. What we have is a hashkafa crisis, we have an attitudinal crisis. Men have changed and women’s expectations have changed. Women have gotten more educated and many men may not necessarily be religious, etc. The problem is that expectations have become unreasonable. In my perspective, unreasonable expectations – that’s what’s creating the shidduch crisis.

In those you mentor, what is typically the key issue?

Some people have a fear of commitment. Others have a too much of a choice mentality. I would say that the key issue is that people don’t create a top-ten list of what they need in an individual and as a result they don’t have a working road map of what to look for and they are left confused.

What advice would you give to parents who have an older single child who doesn’t seem motivated to date or marry?

Very simple answer: Hire a dating coach right away. That’s their mission and their job. They’re trained to be able to help those individuals and sympathize with them, but at the same time help motivate them to want to enter the parsha of marriage.

How did you get involved with the Netflix show The Jewish Matchmaker?

I happen to be a very close friend of the star of the show, Aleeza Ben Shalom. She and I were colleagues for years. We would bounce ideas off each other. Often I would refer many of my clients to read her articles. I think she is a very pragmatic, very intelligent, and very scholarly individual. I look up to her. The year she was working with Netflix she reached out and asked me if I’d like to play a role as the rabbi or dating coach in a show and I said absolutely and we ran with that one. It’s been an amazing kiddush Hashem.

How do we prepare our singles for marriage?

I think it starts in high school. I think they should have a curriculum where dating is taught. I’ve made it my life’s mission to create as many lectures as possible. Recently I went to Panama where I delivered over 12 lectures especially to the high-schoolers, preparing them for dating – teaching what dating is about, the responsibilities of dating and marriage, and how to choose a mate, etc. The earlier you start the better.

What are today’s core shalom bayis issues?

One thing we see today is [that] selfishness is playing a critical role in fracturing many homes. Everyone is looking out for themselves. There’s an essential foundational concept that I teach that is critical in shalom bayis: The man must be the giver and the woman must be the receiver. When those roles are skewed or in any way reversed we have critical problems in shalom bayis. I’m out there these days on a mission to teach the concept that man has to play the role of the giver and woman has to play the role of the receiver.

What do you suggest to a couple that needs marriage counseling but one partner is not motivated to attend sessions?

When you have a situation like that you have a serious problem because it takes two to tango. You can try to speak to them and tell them it’s in the best interest if the marriage. The worst thing one can contemplate is divorce because then if children are involved you may ruin their lives and shatter their dreams. You can try to do the best that you can by trying to encourage the other individual to attend counseling but you can’t force them. That’s the struggle.

How do you know when it’s time to end a marriage?

After you’ve made attempt after attempt, you’ve gone to therapy, you’ve gone to the rabbi, you’ve basically made every effort to bring in third parties to try to fix the problem and you seem to be at a crossroads. The parties are just not responding to therapy treatments or rabbinical advice or persuasion. That’s why the Gemara is very interestingly structured in such a way that the tractate of Gittin (divorce) comes before the tractate of Ketubot (marriage). It’s like an old joke. They say that you always prepare the antidote before the problem. There’s a time for divorce when it needs to be.

Can you tell me more about the singles’ studio you built?

I’m fortunate that my wife is an interior designer. Prior to that, many of my clients entered my basement office through the front door. It made it difficult to have complete privacy. So, after Covid, my wife decided to take the ball into her own hands. She went ahead and redesigned the entire basement, giving me a beautiful waiting room, a great lobby, and more importantly, a beautiful office that’s geared to my dating work. It is a space for me to create my videos, write my articles, and see clients.

What’s the secret to your success?

Obviously G-d, He’s the one who held my hand through the years. I first and foremost say thank you to G-d for granting me the opportunity to help all types of Jews. I have a love for Jews, I have a love for Judaism, and I’ve made it my life’s mission to always want to help anyone regardless of their background or circumstances. I think that people get that and understand that when they sit with me I really care about them and I’m very dedicated to their success.


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Ita Yankovich is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in various Jewish and secular publications. She also teaches English and Literature at Kingsborough College and Touro College. She can be reached at [email protected].