Yisroel Levin and Elisheva Kaplan, a"h

“Ten thousand shidduchim, 10,000 refuos, and 10,000 bursts of siyatta d’Shmaya in emunah for Klal Yisrael!” This was R’ Shaya Levin’s plea to Hashem that reverberated through the overflowing crowd at the levayah of his son and daughter-in-law-to-be.

Mere hours earlier, an unfathomable tragedy not only befell two families, but impacted the entire Klal Yisrael and world at large. A young, happy, newly engaged couple, Yisroel Levin and Elisheva Kaplan, z’l, were tragically taken in a car accident on chol ha’moed Pesach. Yet, at such a devastating and trying time, R’ Levin chose to do and say what was beyond the average person’s level of emunah and selflessness. He begged Hashem to help Klal Yisrael.

The afikoman presents that R’ Shaya pleaded for were all requested as a gift from Heaven. However, hearing the request for 10,000 shidduchim brought to mind a mashal. It is told of a man who davened all his life to win the lottery. When the man passed away, Hashem told him that had he only bought a lottery ticket, he would have won. While only Hashem can send 10,000 shidduchim, it is incumbent upon us to do our part in trying to facilitate the yeshuah and then daven to see the Yad Hashem.

Thus, 10K Batay Yisroel was formed, an initiative to make, and confidentially record, 10,000 shidduch suggestions. The name 10K Batay Yisroel literally translates as “10,000 Jewish homes,” as the goal is to build thousands of Jewish homes. It can also be written as בתי’ ישראל, in memory of the home we lost, the home of אלישבע בתי׳ and ישראל.

The goal of this project is to encourage and empower every single Jew to make shidduch suggestions for the singles in their life, as they know them better than any shadchan can. Often, people are hesitant to suggest a shidduch as they are not “professional” shadchanim and therefore think that they shouldn’t get involved. Ironically, many singles feel that the best shidduch ideas, more often than not, are presented to them by friends and relatives rather than “professional” shadchanim. If we overcome the barriers preventing the average Jew from redding shidduchim, and go beyond our “comfort zone,” if each person takes just a few minutes to think of the other, together we can change lives, improve the shidduch system at large, and ultimately make the world a better place!

R’ Shaya Levin recently wrote: “When you think about it, the 10K project is changing history in Klal Yisrael. Until now, everybody relied primarily on professional shadchanim to come up with all of the suggestions to take care of all the shidduchim in Klal Yisrael. With this project, we are changing the mindset of everyone — it is up to us to think of shidduchim for our fellow Yidden. There are simply not enough professional and nonprofessional shadchanim to alleviate the backlog of older singles that has accumulated or even to deal with the current crop of new younger singles entering the parashah. We know from the midrash in Bereishis that Hashem is sitting and making shidduchim upstairs. But now, thanks to this project, we have incentivized, k’v’yachol, to make even more shidduchim because He sees all of Klal Yisrael voluntarily getting involved (sometimes out of their comfort zone) just to help out a fellow Yid. In essence, you are tapping into Hashem’s rachmanus on us because He desires so much to see us acting “k’ish echad b’lev echad. Kol ha’kavod!”

Within the first 24 hours after launching the project, 250 suggestions were made. However, beyond the numbers, the feedback was incredibly inspiring. Some comments included: “Beautiful! After seeing this, we sat as a family and brainstormed. We just redd a shidduch and it’s looking good!”; “I had this idea a while ago but this made me pick up the phone and call today.”; “Even though it’s uncomfortable to suggest someone, I’m doing it for Yisroel and Eli — and for Klal Yisrael.”

These comments are but a few of the encouraging and beautiful responses of everyday Jews going out of their way for the next person.

There clearly is a major motivator and burning desire in Klal Yisrael to do something l’ilui nishmas Yisroel and Elisheva, and this project very much resonated with the hearts of the klal. Perhaps it’s the painful loss we feel of not seeing the chassan and kallah walk down the aisle that motivated so many to try and help others down to the chuppah and build homes in their z’chus. Or perhaps most people already had suggestions in mind that they were uncomfortable actually making a push for, yet this initiative encouraged them to leave their comfort zone for the next person.

The initiative began on a simple Google form. Individuals would check a box indicating that they made a suggestion, leave a comment if they desired, and submit the form. When the initiative reached 700 suggestions in less than two weeks, it became clear that there was potential to take this project to the next level. While lacking outside funding, a lot of motivation by an incredible team facilitated a beautiful website: 10KBatayYisroel.org.

The website is now not only counting how many suggestions are made, but also how many first dates are facilitated. (B’ezras Hashem, engagements and weddings are to follow!) There is now also a form asking for some basic (confidential) information about the suggestions, which most people are happy to fill out. The information on this form is displayed on the website on the “Impact” page. One can see there how the project has impacted singles of various ages and backgrounds. In particular, a great many suggestions have been made on behalf of singles in their mid-twenties and above, which is what R’ Shaya continuously highlights to be his greatest wish.

The project is currently holding at over 1,650 shidduch suggestions logged on the website! Together, we can keep the momentum going and not only make this project a success, but create an entire movement.

The newest feature to be added to the project is the 10K–BY Group. This is focusing primarily on those who plan to spend their summer at a bungalow colony. As so many agree, there is no better time or place to collaborate on shidduch suggestions than during the summer upstate. We are looking for individuals to host a 10K–BY group at their bungalow colony, and of course all will be invited to attend! Please sign up on the website to host, or e-mail 10KBatayYisroel@gmail.com. To receive a listing of the locations and times, please sign up for updates on the 10K project via the website homepage.

Through this project, it is our fervent hope that Yisroel and Elisheva will, b’ezras Hashem, be in the foundation of thousands of homes in Klal Yisrael.

You can make a difference by going beyond your comfort zone to partake in the 10K initiative and redd a shidduch today! Remember, just one suggestion can help build a beautiful home and homes for generations to come.

.לעילוי נשמת ישראל בן ישעי-הו הלוי ואלישבע בתי׳ בת יחיא-ל אפרים

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