Dear Dr. Yael,
I am a good, frum girl who went to more modern schools and a more “modern” seminary in Israel. I grew a lot spiritually and am looking for a frum boy. I am in shidduchim, but I am having a hard time finding a boy that fits into this “mold.” What happened to finding a nice, frum boy? When did schools and small nuances become so important? I have gotten many “no’s” from possible shidduchim that seemed promising because the boys’ mother says I’m not the “right type.” What does that even mean?! How does she know what type I am if she never even met me? What am I being judged by? My schools? My family? I have heard many people say that the shidduch world is crazy today. Now I am starting to understand what they mean. Why must everyone fit into a box? I do not feel that I can fit into a certain “type” and I can probably marry a few different “types” of boys, but all I keep hearing is that the family does not feel that I am the right fit. I am a genuine person who is frum and wants to meet a good, frum boy. Does that still exist?
A Frustrated Single
Dear Frustrated Single,
I wish I could say that you are mistaken and that the shidduch scene hasn’t changed, but unfortunately I too see a huge difference in shidduchim today. You are correct that people are put into “types” and “categories” and that little nuances seem to make a difference whether a family gives a “yes” or a “no”. I have heard too many times that this seminary isn’t the “right type” for my son. I personally know three girls who all went to the same seminary and each one of them is in reality different. One married a learning boy, one married a learner/earner, and one married someone who is mostly working and has a shiur a few times a week. None of these girls are the “same type” yet going to their seminary branded them as a certain “type.” Had their respective husbands not gone out with them because of the schools they went to, they would’ve never married their bashert. I completely agree with you and wonder why we’re so hung up on nuances and “types?” Aren’t we all one nation who follows in the ways of Hashem? Years ago we looked for nice, frum boys, similar to what you note you’re looking for. Now we box everyone into a certain category which makes shidduchim that much harder. Making shidduchim has always been difficult, but if we add in more meshugas, it will become even harder, as we now see.
Please dear readers, stop trying to judge a book by its cover and give people a chance. You will likely be pleasantly surprised! I also think that sharing pictures has been a detriment to shidduchim. It is very hard to really see how someone looks from a picture as their personality and chein cannot shine through. When you meet someone, they can appear more beautiful to you because of the twinkle in their eye or their personality. A picture often doesn’t do someone justice and once again may garner a premature “no.”
In this time of introspection let us take a long, hard look at what we have done to our singles and let us put a stop to it! Let’s love our fellow Jews and be meshadech with them, even if they do not fit into our neat little box. It is time to broaden our horizons and look beyond what school someone went to or what family they are from, as we are all individuals and can bring something special to a relationship. I hope your letter opens peoples’ eyes to this difficult crisis and helps us start making positive changes to the shidduch world! Additionally, though you mention meeting someone through shidduchim only, perhaps you can try to attend some of the well run shidduch events geared towards a frummer crowd, where maybe you can meet someone appropriate on your own! Hatzlocha in finding your bashert b’karov!