I am the mother of a girl who has been dating for a few years now. She is beautiful, smart, and kind, and she comes from a good, solid family. She would have been married a long time ago if not for the nonsense that goes on.
Where is it written that a girl cannot say “yes” to more than one boy? I send tons of her résumés out to shadchanim. When I finally get back a yes from a boy, my husband and I, like idiots, jump for joy. And, of course, my daughter agrees to go out.
But if another boy happens to say yes at the same time, my daughter will not agree to go out with him, because she said “yes” to boy number one.
What usually happens is that she will go out with that first boy who said “yes,” and it never goes further. Meanwhile, when I contact the shadchan to say that my daughter is free now, and that she will go out with boy number two, the answer is “I’m sorry, but he just said yes to someone else.”
Also, why do boys sit and study résumés for months? Why do we even have résumés in the first place? And we wonder why kids aren’t getting married these days! Who came up with these meshuganeh rules? How can parents get their daughters married already?
By Baila Sebrow
Boys would not be able to sit and study résumés if shidduch résumés became extinct. These résumés are successfully keeping singles unmarried. Singles are having a more difficult time getting married because of the innovative ideas being concocted by those very people who claim they want to help.
Most singles do not like shidduch résumés; they find it demeaning. Moreover, singles complain that résumés, for the most part, are deceptive. On that piece of paper, people have been known to add to their height and reduce their age. Important details, such as a previous marriage, have also been omitted at times. Qualities are often exaggerated to the point of intimidating the reader.
I find résumés to be dehumanizing. Singles and their parents go to all extremes in designing the perfect résumé, complete with photographs. Yet the more they attempt to make their shidduch résumés appear appealing, the more it objectifies them.
There are guys and even girls who admit that when résumés first became popular they initially thought it would save them time, as it would enable them to weed out those who are not shayach for them. While that was true in some cases, in others it destroyed the opportunity to meet someone who potentially could have become their spouse. These singles have reported that when they inadvertently met someone they rejected based on their résumé, they discovered that they made a mistake and should have dated that person at least once.
Except when used with dating websites or for overseas shidduchim, résumés are a deterrent to getting married. So why were résumés invented in the first place for local shidduchim? And, seeing that it does not work, why has this practice not yet been abolished? The simple answer is that it makes the job a whole lot easier for the person who is redding a shidduch.
In the days when a résumé was something a person prepared when looking for employment—not for a shidduch—the shadchan would call the boy and girl separately and explain why the particular suggestion was a good idea. In addition, the shadchan would speak to various members of their families and answer any questions that came to mind. Yes, it was hard work. But it yielded positive results.
Nowadays, countless résumés are impersonally e‑mailed every day. They have become almost like chain letters. There are shadchanim who have no clue whom they are redding, or to whom. And if it somehow works itself out—and, to be fair, at times it does—then hooray for them and mazal tov to the happy couple. But what about the majority of those mass e‑mailed résumés that get tossed around from computer to computer like a redundant advertisement? The devoted shadchanim of yesteryear who performed this mitzvah l’sheim Shamayim as it was intended would cry if they saw how shidduchim are being executed today.
You are correct that some boys sit on these résumés for months. And yes, some boys do study them, dissecting each word and philosophizing on its meaning. Girls do the same thing. Recently, a girl almost rejected a boy I suggested to her because she felt that while listing his requirements on his résumé, there was one point that he listed on the bottom that should have been on the top. So I asked her, “What difference does it make which sequence he puts them in?” Her response was, “It must mean that it is less important to him.”
Determined to not allow this shidduch to pass by because of an absurd blunder, I replied to this young girl, “You don’t realize how smart this boy is. He specifically listed that requirement on the bottom to convey how much it really means to him—leaving it for last to make the most impact.” She finally agreed to go out with him.
Some singles respond to a shidduch e‑mail months later, because it somehow found its way into their spam folder, while other e‑mails get lost in cyberspace. And we wonder why so many singles cannot find their zivugim?
As if the plague of the shidduch résumé were not enough, there are always new rules that come into play. You are right—these days it is considered a faux pas to say “yes” to more than one person for a date. I am not advocating two-timing people. But I feel that there is nothing wrong with a girl saying yes to more than one guy, especially if she has not met either one. The girl who blindly follows the rule of “one yes at a time” oftentimes sadly discovers that she has made a mistake, as in your daughter’s case.
You raise the question that so many despairing parents silently wonder about. You sound like you are ready to be proactive in helping your daughter and in helping other parents marry off their children. You—parents, and even singles themselves—hold the power to do it. You need to contact shadchanim who you truly believe do this for the mitzvah and not because it has become popular to be a shadchan. Baruch Hashem, there are still plenty of erliche shadchanim who view the making of a shidduch as partnering with Hashem. Tell them that more marriages were brought about before the invention of résumés. Expect to encounter some resistance, because it will become that much harder for the shadchan to do his or her job.
This request to shadchanim must come from those who are seeking a shidduch for themselves or a family member. I am saying this because each time I have suggested this concept to parents and singles, they all were eager to have the shidduch résumés abolished. Many shadchanim, on the other hand, react with disdain at such a notion. In fact, I recently called for a shidduch meeting to start making shidduchim as before—without the utilization of résumés. My inbox was filled with hundreds of enthusiastic responses from singles and their parents. I wish I could say that shadchanim shared the same enthusiasm. Not surprisingly, they were not too happy with what I was proposing.
Remember, changes do not happen overnight, especially on issues that people have become comfortable with. Your focus in the meantime must also be in helping your daughter get married. Even though widespread change in the methods of making shidduchim is a quite a way off, you can still be proactive by not going along with the nonsense that people keep coming up with. Forget the rules and ignore the latest shidduch etiquette. When a shidduch is suggested to your daughter, do not exert energy or waste precious time scrutinizing frivolous matters. Make sure that you have contact with the shadchan suggesting the shidduch. Do not allow your communication to be only via e‑mail. If the boy suggested to your daughter sounds like a compatible shidduch, you must try to convince her to at least meet him. May you and all parents be zocheh to see your children get married without any obstacles.
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
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