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Dear Rachel,

I’m a 20-year-old woman whose life was destroyed by Covid. I’m trying to pick up the pieces, but I need help.

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I was in the second half of my Junior year in high school when Covid struck and put an end to school as we knew it. I tried very hard to do all my studies by Zoom, but it just wasn’t the same. Twelfth grade came and went on Zoom. I was denied the graduation that I had dreamed of, and going to Israel for a year of seminary was out of the question.

I want to tell you a little about my family. I am the younger of my parents’ two children. My sister is four years older and was already married with an adorable baby boy when Covid hit. My parents had worked very hard and together built a retail business, but much as they tried to hang on, they lost everything.

We had to downsize and moved out of our home to a small two-bedroom apartment. My mother got a job and she is supporting the family. My father was becoming very depressed when his rabbi got him to join a Kollel. This saved him. He comes home every day in better spirits and earns a small stipend.

Now Covid is no longer our issue, but my life is a mess. Some girls from our class did go to Israel this summer, but I got a job in sales in a high-end fashion store. I am actually good at this and enjoy making sales.

My mother has tried to be very upbeat throughout. When I asked her about approaching the shadchan that made my sister’s shidduch, she hesitated. When I persisted, she finally took me to meet with her. Very sadly, we were informed that it would be much harder to find a boy for me because of our dismal financial situation, plus the fact that I didn’t go to Israel and am not in college.

I was asked if I would consider a boy who has a slight disability or someone who is divorced without children. So I see that although I am only twenty and pretty, slim and smart, I am considered a poor choice. And this is why I feel that my life is destroyed.

I have been reading the Chronicles column since 9th grade. I would discuss the questions and answers with my mother and always enjoyed her insight. Now I am writing to you and not telling her. However, I do believe she will recognize me as the letter writer, so I really hope you can give me some good advice.

Feeling Helpless in Ohio

 

Dear Helpless,

Cheer up. Believe it or not, you’ve got lots going for you. You come across like a bright and with-it young woman. You’ve found your niche in the working world, enjoy what you do and can in all likelihood grow in your field.

Moreover, youth is on your side. The preposterous notion this shadchan is entertaining might be fitting for an over-40-year-old. At your age, with good looks and all, you should have no trouble attracting a fine young man. Whether he’ll be a learning or working boy, you would be an asset and advantage to either one.

Please don’t sell yourself short by allowing one narrow-minded view to get you down. There is also no reason in the world for you to feel any desperation at your age. Do your hishtadlus and daven that Hashem should send your zivug your way.

Someone just sent me this (talk about timing): Stress makes you believe that everything has to happen right now. Faith assures you that everything will happen at the right and perfect time.

Relax and enjoy this beautiful stage in your life, which is fleeting. Savor it. Girls getting married in their mid and late twenties find for the most part that they haven’t missed out on a thing. They’ve just postponed assuming the responsibilities that come with married life.

Think positive and dream away, girl. G-d-willing, the best is yet to come!

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