Question: My age is not important. However, I am concerned about the “shidduch crisis” and the fact that every year, Rachmanah litzlan, hundreds of girls are not getting married. As a single girl in the “parashah,” I speak for myself and my single friends when I say that we try very hard to have emunah that we will find our basherts very soon.
We need chizuk and information. We want to know how people overcame obstacles before finding their basherts. Single girls and boys alike need to realize that this time period should be used for working on our middos and building ourselves into people who will have a good marriage, im yirtzeh Hashem.
We don’t want to feel as though all our hishtadlus, networking, and efforts are for nothing. Please give us some idea how we can help the situation. Please give us a tangible solution, and tell us what we can do to help ourselves get married.
We don’t want to feel hopeless anymore. Everyone has a zivug whom Hashem prepared for him or her before he or she was born.
The Panelists Respond
I sympathize with you and feel your pain. Please believe me, it’s the system that is flawed, not you or your friends. Networking is extremely important. You never know where your bashert will come from, so you must tell everyone that you are looking. More shidduchim come from friends and relatives than from shadchanim. Contact as many shadchanim as you can and touch base with them every couple of months, so that you are on their radar. Make sure that the shadchanim you contact deal with people in your age group and of a similar hashkafah. Try to make at least one phone call or send one e-mail a day. The more “out there” you are and the more connections you make, the better the chance that someone will think of you.
I can’t stress this enough—you must be as open-minded as you can. Take your list of all the things you feel you must have in a spouse and pare it down to at most the five that are most important to you. Relax your age, height, education, background, profession, and looks requirements as much as you realistically can. No, this is not called settling, it’s being realistic and practical in reaching your goal of marriage. Look at the person himself; don’t get too hung up on the externals. Try to be a little more open in your hashkafic requirements. If someone is a little more to the right or a little more to the left of where you’re holding, you can still mesh and have a wonderful life together.
You can also try the frum online dating websites. You can ask for references before you agree to go out with someone. Have you tried attending singles events or weekends? You can find them listed or advertised in many Jewish publications and websites. You can also request to be put on the e-mail lists of singles organizations.
Always look as attractive as you can, and act as nice as you can when you are out and about.
Make sure to have a smile on your face and a positive attitude. No one will be attracted to you if you walk around moping and miserable and bemoaning your lot in life.
You may be hesitant to try some of these suggestions, but you will feel better being proactive, instead of just waiting for the phone to ring. You will be much more desirable and successful on the shidduch scene if you are a capable, independent, proactive person, rather than a helpless, dependent one who’s relying on others to think of her at their whim.
Yes, the parashah of shidduchim is very difficult. But with Hashem’s help, combined with your hishtadlus and a smile on your face, you will succeed!
Matty Sod has been an active shadchanis for over 15 years. In addition to making shidduchim, she mentors singles throughout the dating process. She has written many articles on shidduchim and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be proactive. I cannot stress enough how important it is for singles to be proactive and to push for themselves, and for parents to push for their children from the minute they start dating until they become engaged. Every person you know should know that you are single and what you are looking for in a spouse. You never know where your bashert will come from or who will be the shaliach to send him to you. You never know what kind of connections another person might have, whether or not he or she is involved in shidduchim, etc. E-mailing shadchanim with your résumé and a letter clearly stating what type of shidduch you are looking for is an effective way of reminding a shadchan about you.
Be menschlich. This one is for girls, boys, and their mothers and it is a plea for those in the shidduch parashah to act in a menschlich manner in all areas involving shidduchim. Many singles and their mothers don’t understand the time and effort it takes to arrange a date between two people, all the back and forth, coordinating of schedules, etc. Those involved need to be flexible and understand that a shadchan is not a personal assistant. Furthermore, there is no reason why a shadchan should have to chase after a boy or a girl after a date to find out if he/she would like to go out again. Not only is it rude to the shadchan, but it puts the shadchan in an uncomfortable position with the other side and, sometimes, creates a feeling of ill will that can ruin a good shidduch. After a date, each party should call the shadchan with a yes or no by 10 o’clock the next morning. Additionally, when a shidduch is redt to you, get back to the shadchan with an answer as quickly as possible. She took the time to redt you a shidduch; isn’t it only right that you respond to her suggestion? And, if you are the girl and a boy is waiting for an answer, be sure to respond in at most four days.
Be realistic. Give people a chance; don’t be so quick to turn someone down because he/she is not exactly what you think you are looking for. Be open to trying out new ideas and meeting different people. Who knows? Maybe one of them will be your bashert.
While my advice is not as tangible as I know you would like it to be, I truly believe that if you are proactive, treat everyone you encounter in shidduchim with respect, and are realistic in your expectations and true to yourself, hopefully, you will enable yourself to find your proper zivug very shortly. Hatzlachah!
Alisa Berger is a Lawrence shadchanis and part-time dating coach. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Although it is true that a large number of girls are not getting married, the good news is that many, baruch Hashem, are zocheh to be walked to the chuppah in a timely manner. That in no way diminishes the pain of those left behind.
With all the self-help articles and books devoured by those who seek answers to their dilemma, many still find themselves in the same non-married status. The answer being that no step-by-step guide has or can be rationally written for anyone to follow. People need to cleverly tailor-make their requirements, and adjust outward appearances accordingly.
Parents of previous generations approached the dating stage with pragmatic and sensible expectations. The common catchphrase was “My daughter is looking for a mensch.” Or, “My son needs a balabusta.” Because, dear single girl, at 2 a.m. when your colicky infant is screaming, it is the mensch who will rock his baby to sleep. And at the end of a hard working day, it is the knowledge of a delicious meal waiting that entices the husband to rush home.
As a girl steps off the plane from her seminary year in Israel, her heart is filled with spiritual beauty. However, the financial dynamics of her family may not coincide with her newfound idealism. While a girl’s friends from seminary are pursuing the lifestyle of a kollel wife, her parents may not be economically equipped to indulge their daughter, son-in-law, and their growing family with long-term financial support. A girl in such a circumstance will be sidelined when seeking a shidduch of this nature. The impracticality of pursuing any type of shidduch that is based on the desire to feel socially accepted is a setup for encountering rejection.
A girl or boy in the shidduch parashah needs to take stock of every aspect in their lives—hashkafah, appearance, family situations, education, etc. They need to honestly assess their footing, and understand that what works for someone else may, in most cases, not work for them. However, what girls and boys should never compromise on are the virtuous characteristics of a potential spouse.
This brings me to the destination point of your shidduch journey. The manner in which people overcame their obstacles is simple. Just as a cook needs to focus on her own pot and not that of her neighbor, lest the meal become burnt, so too, when searching for a shidduch.
The many singles that have successfully gotten married have done so as a result of not worrying about what people think. They did not base their identity on the opinions of others. They did not care what others thought of their choice, nor did they concern themselves with whom their friends married. They focused their search on what society may refer to as “out of the box.”
Not only did Hashem provide a zivug for you, but He also gave you the gift of bechirah. Choose your spouse based on what is truly right for you. That should be the focus of your hishtadlus. Your bechirah is the innovative ingredient in completing the recipe for a happy marriage.
Baila Sebrow is president of Neshoma Advocates, communications and recruitment liaison for Sovri-Beth Israel, executive director of Teach Our Children, and a shadchanis. She can be reached at Bsebrow@aol.com. v
In each installment of the Five Towns Jewish Times Dating Forum, a question pertaining to contemporary dating issues will be addressed by our diverse and experienced forum panelists. Questions and comments can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.