I am the mother of a 20-year-old daughter. I am having an extremely difficult time helping her meet the right type of boy. We live in a community which is either very chassidish or just ultra-yeshivish. There has been some difficulty in her background. We are a blended family (a second marriage for both my husband and me) and she has chosen to become more modern and much less yeshivish.

Our family is basically heimish. Although she has a lot of wonderful attributes–good-looking, intelligent, friendly, hardworking, etc.–she has been having a hard time being set up with the right type, being that we do not live in a more veltishe community or have someone willing to meet a girl from a blended home.

What can I do to help my daughter get married?


By Baila Sebrow

To help set your mind at ease, please understand that the community you are living in has little, if any, relevance to the predicament your daughter is in with regard to shidduchim. There is no “right” community that will guarantee anyone the opportunity to increase their chances for being set up with the “right” type in finding their shidduch. I speak to parents of girls who live in various parts of the United States, or outside the country, who believe that if they lived in similarly cultured communities as themselves, their single daughters would have been married. I tell people time and again and reassure them that their problem has nothing to do with where they live. Most people do not marry spouses from the community they grew up in.

With regard to the benefits of a living in a more “veltishe community,” people are the same wherever you go. Any open-mindedness and worldliness that you think people in other communities might possess is a myth you are best off quickly dismissing from your mind. They might dress differently, I will give you that. But when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, the mindset of people caught up in the current trend of shidduch dating is one and the same everywhere.

I will address another concern that you feel is the blameworthy factor in your daughter’s situation. In contrast to a family where the divorced parents never remarried, a blended family actually demonstrates, at least in outward appearance, a positive and healthy aspect. Statistically, blended families see little difference in the opportunities available to their children who are in the shidduch parashah as their married-only-once counterparts.

That said, we need to focus on the one issue that realistically might be hindering your daughter’s chances for finding a compatible shidduch: being raised from a heimish background and seeking to marry into a modern family. That, in all honesty, is where I believe the problem lies.

You say that your daughter has chosen to become more modern. Although she is probably dressing the part, her fashionable style of clothing, makeup, and hairstyle will not necessarily boost her chances in attracting a modern boy for marriage.

Whether one is modern, heimish, yeshivish, or chassidish, it is all in the culture and tradition. Anyone can change their style of dress. You can change your outfit several times a day, but who you are and where you come from will always be transmitted, no matter how much you try to camouflage or conceal your identity. The way one talks and the expression of thoughts and spirituality all are a reflection of our upbringing.

Whatever the reason for your daughter choosing to become more modern, she needs to understand that there are many differences in the thought patterns from that of heimish/yeshivish to those of modern. This explains why many modern guys will not go out with a girl who comes from a frummer background and why shadchanim have in all probability thus far been unsuccessful.

The solution is simple. Your daughter would be most compatible with a guy who also comes from a heimish background but decided to become more modern. A shidduch of such nature works best and yields the highest success rates. They both understand each other and their family responsibilities. One of the problems that a girl who comes from a heimish background faces when married to a modern guy is that after they are married and invited to simchas, she will often ask her husband to put on a black hat for the occasion.

“Just for the simcha. It’s just for a few hours,” she will beg. But, a guy who has always been modern will view that request as hypocritical, rather than just showing respect for where he is going. On the other hand, a guy who was raised in a heimish background will, in most cases, go along with his wife’s request, because he understands where she is coming from and what she is talking about. He therefore sees the benefit in appeasing his wife when she makes this request.

Choose one or two shadchanim who have a proven track record in confidentiality and dedication. Outline the details of your daughter’s choice in becoming more modern than her family. Insist that they set your daughter up only with boys who were also raised heimish and decided to forgo that lifestyle in favor of a more modern way of living. Of utmost importance, please stress that the boy’s reasons for the altered direction in hashkafah be of similar ideological basis and philosophy to that of your daughter, guaranteeing the chances in scoring an appropriate and harmonious marriage partner for her.

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 v

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