I am a 26-year-old single girl. I can’t get normal dates, because I used to be considered a kid-at-risk. When I was 14, I got kicked out of a school, and no other school wanted to take me in. I hate those people who consider themselves rebbetzins, for what they did to me.

I straightened up my life. I have amazing friends and an excellent job. But I can’t get a normal guy to go out with me.

My family is very yeshivish and I would feel most comfortable marrying such a boy too. But good boys are not being redt to me. The only shidduchim that shadchanim send me are ex-chassidish boys who are not even completely shomer Shabbos, even though they dress chassidish. Modern boys are not being redt to me, because of my very frum background.

I am depressed about my terrible situation. What can I do to marry a normal boy?


By Baila Sebrow

Your letter pains me deeply for a number of reasons. When you say you were considered a kid-at-risk, I wonder if you actually epitomized that definition. Nevertheless, you need to remove that label from yourself. Whatever dark circumstances surrounded your childhood, regardless of who may have been at fault, paying homage to that description of yourself as at-risk only serves to give credence to those who refused to give you a chance by accepting you to another school.

You are feeling anger at what “rebbetzins” have done to you, and that’s understandable. These women, while justifying their decision in not accepting a frum girl to a school, have caused you grief. Whatever the reasons for your discharge from your original school at age 14 were, they grant little excuse to any other frum school in not giving you another chance.

You were denied a second chance for a Jewish education. That can never be sugar-coated. Furthermore, you feel that these school administrators may share in the responsibility for the possible stagnation of your life as a future Jewish mother.

Although it is psychologically natural for a survivor of a traumatic experience to be haunted by her past, please try to direct your focus on your goal in getting married.

I applaud your courage and the healthy emotional maturity you are demonstrating. You will need to utilize those qualities in improving your current situation.

Having been raised frum, you undoubtedly understand the customary technicalities of life’s milestones. That said, you convey understanding that the fact that you were expelled from a school, even though you were only 14, is problematic enough when it comes to shidduch dating. The adversity of no other school allowing your admission to their campus has further contributed to your difficulties in marrying the type of guy you feel compatible with.

Under no circumstances should you consider marrying a boy who is not shomer Shabbos. Marrying a boy who does follow halachah in any area, especially in being shomer Shabbos, would be disastrous. It is shocking that shadchanim who see that you are a frum girl living a healthy lifestyle are recommending you to guys who are mechallel Shabbos. That is beyond outrageous. The only excuse one can make on their behalf is that in their quest and haste in assisting you in getting married, they are also being naive to the fact that such a boy shares nothing in common with you. It is dangerous to your morale to be redt to such a boy.

Although you might relate best with a guy who went through a similar situation as yours, I would not recommend that you place all your energies on specifically searching for that type of boy. “At-risk” is another overused term in our frum circles. Kids who became more modern than their parents and schools have also been dubbed with that title. So have those who have not shown mastery in their academic achievements. Professionals who work with at-risk kids are the only people qualified to make that assessment. Therefore, I will not suggest that you specifically seek to marry a boy who was previously considered at-risk or was in fact such, because you might enter into a situation that is foreign to who you really were during your youth. You do, however, need to broaden your horizons and look outside the box.

Due to your yeshivish background, it is understandable that you are not being recommended to modern boys. On the other hand, what shadchanim may not understand is that as a result of what you had endured, your eyes have been opened beyond the scope of the yeshivish world, and you are therefore a more plausible match for a modern boy than they realize.

In your circumstances, the most feasible approach to getting married is that you will need to “take the bull by its horns,” and proactively carry out your own search. A guy who will meet you face-to-face will get a clear picture of who you factually are.

There are many venues available for meeting a good compatible guy on your own. From frum dating sites to various singles events, there is much available for those of all ages and hashkafic values. You are certainly not too young to commit to such an endeavor, and please do not view it as a being a failure in finding a shidduch.

There are thousands of sincerely frum and accomplished singles who embark on their own mission in finding their shidduch.

Typical to someone new to this venture is that you are also placed in a vulnerable position in possibly encountering a negative experience. Therefore, you need to exercise extra caution. To begin with, ask other singles similar to yourself in terms of age and hashkafah to recommend you venues that have been comfortable for them. In addition, it is imperative that you do not commit to anything before conducting a thorough research of the venue and the reputation of its representatives.

You have been through much trial and tribulation in your adolescent years, yet have emerged with class and dignity. The demeanor you exude as a result of your experiences is what makes you shine in a tastefully unique manner. As the right guy will come to know you, he will appreciate the challenges you faced while steadfastly maintaining the customs of your family.

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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