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Wednesday, December 21, 2005



Aside from the blogs by the so called rebels, disapproving of everything and everyone in orthodox Jewish life, the most popular blogs are the ones by single people decrying the awful situation that is today’s Shidduchim.
Having been there, I can empathize but offer little advice as I really don’t know what to do or what can be done about it.
Having been there, I’ve observed that not one of my many “friends”, if the word “friends” has taken on the meaning of casual acquaintances that call only when they need something, had ever tried to set me up. Their wives, coming from various cities and towns, must’ve known many girls that could’ve been an appropriate suggestion. A cousin, a friend, a neighbor...
Yet it never happened, none of those stay-at-home-spend the days at malls-wives ever suggested anyone.
Partly because I was hurt and slightly offended by their neglect, I try not to act in the same manner.

Shidduchim candidates often sigh how disillusioned and how torturous the road to one’s zivug (destined one) is.
They rant on blogs and in real life they kvetch and cry. Very understandably so, as a lot of emotional energy is often invested only to be rewarded with disappointment.
The flawed system is criticized endlessly and shadchunim are blamed for thinking too much of the potential monetary gain instead of thinking about appropriate matches.
These claims are legitimate, yet there is another side too, which I’d like to discuss today.
The following is not directed at anyone in particular, it is just a common recurrence that I think leads to hurtful and unpleasant situations.

The story on the other side of the mirror.

I suggested a Shidduch to a friend of mine. I extensively researched the girl, talking to common acquaintances and relatives.
In other words when I was ready to suggest this girl to my friend I was armed with answers.
Then he shot his questions and I was silent.
What’s her relationship with her grandma?, how intelligent is she exactly?, is she interested in my type?, would she be agreeable to do this or that etc…?
To make a long story short I inquired further for him and while the outcome was very optimistic, he just couldn’t give me an answer. There was no question of long distance traveling or expending a large amount of money, yet it took him over a month to give me an answer.
By that time the girl was out of town and when she returned the slight interest she had showed a month earlier had totally vanished, probably because she felt insulted he found it necessary to research her past and present with FBI tactics before taking her out on a single date.
The point of this account is that now he really wants to go out with her, but she’s not interested anymore.
I can’t guarantee that she would be had he acted more reasonably, but I got the feeling that it was the long wait for his answer that completely turned her off.

I have heard some reallly wacky questions lately. "How does the girl's father dress on Sunday?", "Do they take the dishes off the shabbos table one at a time or all at once?", "Does the boy put on a hat to take out the garbage" and the list goes on. There is even a website, www.endthemadness.org which goes into greater lengths on the subject.
What happened to the way it used to be in my days? You went out, you talked to the girl, you got to know her and made the decision for yourself. It almost seems like today's dating generation wants to start at the third or fourth date.
Another major thing that keeps me back from redding shidduchim to friends is the fear of insulting one or both parties. This is especially true in the case of older singles, where you would generally suggest shidduchim that they might not even have considered when they were younger. I'm always afraid of the "how could you have read me THAT?!" reaction.
As a non-frummie, I am curious about a few things. If you could shed some light, I would be most appreciative.

1) How much does a shadchan cost?
2) Which branches of Orthodoxy use these matchmakers?
3) Why can't the single person find their own match? They know themselves better than anyone. Why can't they be trusted to pick their own mate? Or is it not a trust issue?

It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I am not trying to be offensive. I am just curious.
I would LOVE to arrange my children's marriages, seriously.

My husband tells our son he should take his time, marry for love, and be happy. Myself, on the other hand, have a different perspective on the matter. I tell him I hope he marries soon and finds someone Jewish whom he loves and has children quickly. My husband becomes very upset when I tell him this, but this is how I feel. What should I do, lie about it? I told my husband if our son marries a goyim, it will clearly be HIS fault!

My daughter is still young, and not physically able to do much right now. Be mindful, however, she will receive the same advice (at least from me.)
Listen, I can understand your perspective. But it's important to check out a prospective shiduch. See my blog!
Prag - Really sucks that your kindness and thoughtfulness was abused that way. Hope you will still set others up. I have experienced it from both sides, and neither is a picnic. I try not to post too much about it on my blog, though...

Stacey - Those are all great questions. As no one else has yet answered them, I'd like to take a stab at them:

1)Depends on the shadchan. Many do it for free, either for the joy it brings them or for the "mitzvah" of bringing two people together. Others see it as their profession. Those, who I refuse to go to, on principle, often charge $50 for the initial consultation and $1000 per side if their is an engagement (fees vary, but this is a pretty standard rate).

2)Much more common in the ultra-orthodox world, but does occur in the modern world to a lesser extent as well.

3)I don't think it is so much a trust issue, although many are matched when quite young (17, 18, etc.). The main issue is that there is little intermingling of the sexes, so there is no real opportunity to meet someone at say a bar or a concert. A shadchan, or parents, or friends, are the only way many will get to meet someone in this world.

I understand why it's done, but I think a lot of the "crisis" would be alleviated if orthodox Jews couyld meet members of the opposite sex in more natural settings and get to know each other in a natural context and not the artifucual boundaries set up by the frum world...
Hey, I have an idea....

What doesn't he go on a date with her, ask the questions he has to her face, interact with her and form his own opinion.

You know..... its just so crazy it might work.
jeru, that was pretty much what I was saying.
At 20, I already look like an old lady. I mean, not being married yet. My sister, who's engaged at 17, can't wait to be married. I, on the other hand avoid it. I think it's because I want to find someone myself, and it's not going to happen. Number one, because it's not like where I live people just walk up to each other and start conversation. Number two, because shidduch is the only way accepted in my family. At least as far as I know.
gosh mcaryeh, you're good. i think people can at least go on a first date and see for themselves, especially if it doesn't cost so much money to do it (meet at a hotel, live in same town, whatever). i tried to set up a guy here who is a friend of my husband's. i literally felt i had found a girl with every quality he said he was looking for. know what he told me? i only accept suggestions through my shadchan so and so. know what i said? too bad and blew it off. i am his friend. i can suggest someone. i was not going to make my own appointment to talk to some lady about this girl i know. ugh.
The singles, shadchanim, parents, rabbis... etc. Everyone is pointing fingers as to why shidduchim arent working... no one wants to say 'maybe my perspective needs to be broadened'.
tis a difficult topic to broach, because there are many different sides. I think meeting on your own, whether in college, common social circles,etc. is the ideal way to meet 'the one', pardon the matrix reference...but for some its not plausible.

This topic has been hashed and rehashed. there is no perfect solution. people have managed to get married in the last 5,000 yrs. lets keep it goin people!*smirk*
MC: Thanks for answering my questions. Wow. This is so foreign to me. And I can't believe some people are matched in their late teens. I think that's just too young.
As my knowledge of your faith is slim,I find this post very interesting.Prag theres a lady out there for a great guy like you, i hope you find your match soon.
People say..bashert..bashert..bashert..
It is possible that your bashert could pass you by..
The Gemara says that that's the reason why you're allowed to make a shudduch on Yom Tov..beacuse it's possible that someone else could steal away your bashert!
Great point great post!
Maybe you could just explain to her that he just got "gun Shy". You could suggest that she give him a second chance, go out with him and judge for herself.
I have been thru the same
it si not easy
thanks for you wise comments on my sblog
happy hanuka
This whole ritual of setting up people from the same background and religion reminds me sooooo much of us Greeks! Close knit communities that want to marry one of their own. But this is very difficult and the choices are really narrowed down when we do this. What to do? In the end, i think people just need a bit of luck too.
Evangelia-It's funny you say that, when I was watching "my big fat greek wedding"(love that movie)I was thinking, change the family name to steinberg and you got a Jewish movie.
Merry Christmas Prag.
Undoubtedly your case is true. But it would be the exception to the rule. The general attitude is like that of your single days. None of the "friends" really cares, and the best thing to do is to keep it in mind for when they ask the "favor"
Good post as usual prag.

I am all for the friends setting things up, and have tried doing it myself for a friend.

AFI. You hit it right on the head, let them go out and see for themselves if they work together. All the time when parents call me to get info on friends of mine, I feel like telling them to bug off and let the kids decide for themselves if that's what they want.
Hi Pragmatician i love your site keep up the good work
Iwe want to know more about your private day to day life
come and vist my site I put upa spicy piece about ahassidic woamn I dated
Hi all, thanks for your comments, I enjoyed reading your thoughts and input.

Patt-Thanks, U too!

Frum Singles-Because I was hurt by their not caring enough, I don’t want to act in the same manner, I just get frustrated some times as upcoming posts will demonstrate.
The Real- thanks. I’ve said that to a few parents already but it wasn’t taken very well.” WE will decide what’s best for our son (we, um he needs prestige, name, yichus and the like, very important qualities in a good wife)??

Dating master-Thanks and yes I know your blog is quite spicy.
You've been added to my blogroll :)) I thought I had done it a while back...whooops
Tamara-thanks that's so nice
32 and single here. If there was such a thing as Shadchans for the un-frum but growing, I just might sign up. G-d knows Jdate isn't working, nor is frumster (which is now not just frum). I dunno, hopefully I'll be married while I can still have kids.
Hi where have you been?
come and vote on my site
Pragmatician you rock!
Datingmaster, I'll check out your blog, thanks for the invitation.
Great Post! I've also had some really good questions asked...like what elementry, HS and Bais Medrash did the FATHER go to!
One of the most frustrating things I find is the lack of control I have over getting dates. I would love to go out and find a guy myself but the society I live in frowns upon it. Therefore, I need to be set up. My parents and siblings are waiting for a guy to fall from who knows where and are not doing much. I did actually go to a Shadchan but I did not have the best experience (see my post "Reduced to an Index Card")
roz-thanks for posting, indeed it's a problem in frum society, a boy needs to be "picked out" for you. Maybe you can talk to married friends and cousins and see if their husbands might have an idea for you, than your friend or her husband could get in touch with your parents but not before you decide whether a particular boy might be interesting for you.
prag - in defense of your friend (although he sounds like he's being a pain) - timing may have something to do with it. perhaps he had been out on a number of frustrating, inappropriate dates and felt that this time he was going to do his due diligence. perhaps he was just burned out from dating, not in the mood of going out again, but couldn't justify it to himself or you. please don't give up because of one bad experience.
What a great post. I know exactly what you are talking about. I can identify in ways that only a person in the middle of this kind of chicken soup can. I work in an office, and I wanted to set up one of the guys I work with,, he told me his mom is taking care of his shiduchim. I told him, ok. Called his mom, the guy has a list,,, but because I know both sides very well, and the others came from shadchanim, they will bump my name up,,,
I set up a guy and girl, the guy had the diamond, they were waiting for the dor yeshurim test, and then she got cold feet. She is too comfortable with living by mommy. The list goes on. Then there is me. And my problem is that no normal guys can handle the wild side of me,, and then also appreciate my depth. Go to a shadchan, say that you want someone with chasidishe leanings, and they set you up with a guy who wears white socks shabbos,, I went to florida on the plane a lady tried to set me up with a guy who has some lubavitch roots,,, 6 generations ago!! Today he is not really shomer shabbos, but its ok,, he will come back for the right girl. I listen to my friends,, I wish I was good at shidduchim they tell me,, and then they go home to hubby at night, and I go home to four beautiful walls. I always say yes to a fone call. I dont believe anyone else can tell you if someone is for you or not. What sounds good on paper is not necessarily up my alley, and what ppl would never put together, sometimes results in the most beautiful relationships. Shidduchim I find are an enigma unto their own. They are a paradox full of contradictions to anything that remotely begins to make sense. I guess its about siyata dishmaya. Thats the only conclusive answer I can come up with. To dig deep within yourself, and daven your kishkess out.
Mata-I'm not really giving up, was just disappointed this idea didn't go anywhere.

Annymously-Great post,I admire your writing style and the fact you can use humor to write about this subject.
sometimes results in the most beautiful relationships I've seen that happen so often I start to wonder wheter it's not better to bring together exclusively non compatible people:)
Good post. Difficult situation for all involved. I started a blog before my current one that was one of those ones just to vent, to get my problems out but then I discovered plenty of other people doing that, they echo what I am going through to some extent. Yes, I am single. Yes, it is difficult to meet people in a small community. Yes, it is difficult to know how to deal with it, how to deal with the people who try to help and those who don't seem to care. It is diappointing, tiring, torturous and very disillusioning (is that a word? :P ) I don't ever overlook an opportunity to meet someone and I try to help my friends in the same way wherever possible. Another ranting blog about shidduchim? No, I decided that something creative would be a more positive, healthy thing to do! So I vent privately, to friends or other people who understand, in a journal. My pictures are my happy place, what I enjoy and I wanted to share that with everyone. But thanks to all those other shidduch blogs because, in some way, it is comforting to know that we are all not alone! Best of luck to you all and all those who are trying to help you.
Thanks for your comments on my blog Prag :)
Keep posting stuff like this i really like it
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