Shidduchim: It’s Everyone’s Thing
Practical Ways to Help Create Dating Opportunities
Dear Community Members,
I am most appreciative of the very warm reception that I have been given from the community in my new position at The Shidduch Center of Baltimore. We were greatly pleased with the turnout at our educational event for parents last month, and the feedback that followed was nothing short of heartwarming. Based on the response we have received regarding our initiatives, it is clear that our community has the drive and desire to put forth the necessary effort to help our singles find shidduchim, and to be able to do so in a dignified, respectful way.
In the past few months, as word of The Shidduch Center’s renewed efforts has begun to spread through the community, I have received a number of requests from parents and concerned community members asking what can be done for their children and for our Baltimore singles. While I truly wish that I had a magical solution, or the match for all of our singles ready in my back pocket, regretfully, I do not. Something of great value we can offer, however, are practical ideas and steps that anyone can take to try and create dating opportunities for the singles of Baltimore. And of course, the strength and support of The Shidduch Center to help everyone take advantage of these opportunities.
Before laying out a number of practical ideas and programs that I would like to share with you, there are two points that I would like to address. The first is the phrase, “It’s not my thing.” Very often someone may think of a shidduch idea, or one is presented to them, and the verbal or mental response is that shidduchim is, “not their thing.”
While it is certainly true that most people are not shadchanim, and it is inarguable that redting shidduchim is often a very nuanced, time-consuming and sometimes difficult task, that does not mean that there is nothing you can do. The greatest thing we can give our singles is opportunity, and when an idea is presented and gets dismissed because one is unsure of what to do with it, that may very well be an opportunity lost to one of our singles. If there is anything we can’t afford to lose, it is opportunity.
What then is the solution? What can a person who is unfamiliar with the world of shidduchim do when an idea presents itself and they have nowhere to go with it, or if they lack the means or confidence to follow through?
Contact someone who can. Please do not let the opportunity slip away. It is as easy as a phone call or email to me or to one of the many shadchanim here in Baltimore, many of whose contact information you can find a little further on in this article. Whether or not we are familiar with the singles you are looking to redt, we would be more than happy to run with your idea and put it to good use. Contacting someone who can help gives anyone who has an idea for a shidduch the means to make sure that their idea is not lost. It gives our shadchanim the ability to redt a shidduch that they otherwise might not have. Most importantly though, it provides our singles with more dating opportunities. Simply stated, its a win, win, win.
The second point is mindfulness. For someone who is newly married, this could mean taking the time to talk with your spouse and see if some of your single friends might be good a match for each other. For someone who is dating, this could mean considering if the person you just dated or looked into but not right for you, is perhaps right for one of your friends. For a parent with children in shidduchim, this could mean passing along profiles of singles that were not for your child to the parents of a single for whom this profile might be more suitable. For a community member who is in none of the above categories, this means truly thinking about the children of your friends or neighbors.
To elaborate a little further on the idea of mindfulness, I do not mean just an awareness in the back of your head that other singles exist, but rather, actively keeping them in mind as you meet other singles and moving on an idea that comes to you. Keeping a list of singles you know and referring to it when you meet new singles could prove to be a very useful tool in moving beyond a simple awareness to a more active mindfulness of singles in need of a shidduch.
Remembering the singles you know and putting an idea into action, whether you take the action yourself or whether you enlist the help of someone else, will often lead to successful shidduchim. An idea can be all it takes to bring a single to the chuppah.
As far as a list of practical ideas and programs to help create dating opportunities, there are many avenues for parents, singles, or community members to take steps towards creating dating opportunities for singles. The ideas below are by no means all inclusive, but they are an excellent starting point. I hope that, b’ezras Hashem, they will be successful in generating ideas and creating opportunity for our singles.
- Send us an email with your name and your child’s name and birth-year, or have your child contact us directly, so we may be in contact with them and keep them informed of upcoming events or opportunities geared towards their age group that may be helpful to them.
- We are partnering with “Shidduch Share,” where singles, or their parents, share profiles of boys they have researched or personally met, with designated shadchanim, through the Shidduch Share designated email account. Simply send the profile of the young man that you have researched or dated to firstname.lastname@example.org, and this information will be sent to a few experienced and trusted local shadchanim. The shadchanim will then try to set up shidduchim for other appropriate young women in town with these boys.
- A very nice program recently put forth is for similarly aged girls to meet together in relatively small groups, under the supervision of a trusted and experienced facilitator and shadchan. Each girl brings a few profiles of young men they know or have dated, and presents the profiles, without the names of the boys, to the others in the group. The hope is that some of these young men may be a good idea for another one of the girls in the the group, or a friend of theirs. If an idea that is presented has potential, the shadchanim in attendance can move forward on redting it. Each get-together would be conducted in a dignified and sensitive way, and all information would be kept strictly confidential.
- Similarly, there has been an idea for a program that would bring together a few recently married couples to meet in small groups, again under the supervision of a trusted and experienced facilitator and shadchan, to try and think of ideas for their single friends. The couples would talk about friends of theirs who are still dating and see if with the help of the shadchanim at the program, a match could be made between the various friends of the different couples.
- Another idea is for local shuls to arrange a few times a year for their members to meet and discuss the singles they know to see if a potential shidduch could be made. Once again, it would be very helpful to have at least one seasoned shadchan at these meetings to be able to move forward with an idea if there is no one there to do so, or if someone needs their help and guidance.
There have already been a few events like these in Baltimore, and they have created dates, and at least one engagement that we are aware of, as a result. If you would be interested in spearheading or participating in such an event, please e-mail or call us expressing your interest so we may move forward with it.
And last, but certainly not least, schedule an appointment for your child to meet with one of the many skilled and experienced shadchanim here in Baltimore. I would like to stress the importance of actually meeting with a shadchan, and not just making a phone call or emailing a profile. When a single actually takes the time to sit and meet with a shadchan, it allows the shadchan to ask important follow up questions and to get a much better overall understanding of the person they are meeting with and what they are looking for. This in turn allows the shadchan to redt shidduchim that are more likely to be on point, with a greater likelihood for success.