To the Editor:
I read with interest your article “The Post Shidduch Era” and wish your family continued mazel and bracha. As Special Projects Coordinator at YUConnects, a non-profit program that has made 342 engagements, and having volunteered on many singles activities, I’d like to comment on a few of your points.
- Dating these days can be challenging and finding the right match for our children seems harder than ever. However, these challenges affect EVERYONE, in any socio-economic level, including those “front row of the shul” or wealthy individuals. Indeed, there are those who would pay a million dollars to have their children in happy marriages and implying otherwise does a great disservice to the people who are attempting to help. The shadchanim I know (YUConnects has over 70 volunteer matchmakers) want to make compatible marriages; the bank account of the parents doesn’t matter. These hard-working individuals put in hours each week searching databases and offering match suggestions. It is a grave insult to a great many people when it is implied that their motives are other than pure. It adds to the cynicism and heartache of already-pained community members.
- There is a need for natural meeting opportunities. More people are realizing that mingling in person at a lecture, a chesed opportunity or a “kosher” event is far better than studying the factoids on a paper resume. I’m happy to report that plenty of organizations are now coordinating these programs, and what’s even nicer, the singles themselves often plan their own activities. The stigma is fast disappearing as the younger generation searches for more and unique ways to meet. Just last weekend, the Young Israel of Woodmere, together with YUConnects, hosted “Meat Your Match”, an interactive social night featuring a sampler of premium and gourmet deli meats. More than 140 people wanted to attend, but our venue could only accommodate 55. That very night, three dates were arranged, telephone numbers were exchanged and there were many requests for follow up matchmaking ideas. Perhaps you were unaware, but these activities do exist- in our own community- and they are certainly successful, Boruch Hashem.
- I do agree with you on an important point. The community needs to support efforts by major Jewish groups to help those in the dating parsha. There is a lot of commenting, complaining and praying for “something to be done.” Well, people are working, truly working, on these issues, but more resources and money need to be put toward coordinating these efforts. Funds can be used to subsidize events, incentivize matchmakers, and pay for a host of communal efforts that are making inroads.
Wishing your family happiness and every Jewish family the bracha of finding the right Jewish partner.