Reprinted from the Baltimore Jewish Home:
We spent some time with The Shidduch Center of Baltimore’s Executive Director, Shlomo Goldberger, to learn more about the The Shidduch Center, and the profound impact it is having on our community.
What brought you to Baltimore?
32 years ago, my parents moved from Denver to lead a new shul in Baltimore, Kehilas Tiferes Yisroel(better known as Rabbi Goldberger’s shul). They were kind enough to bring me with them, and I have been here ever since. I’m still a huge Broncos fan, but Baltimore is my home, and I couldn’t imagine a better Jewish community to live in and raise a family. The breadth, warmth, and unity of our community are really unparalleled.
What is The Shidduch Center?
I think The Shidduch Center is many different things to many different people. We have five Dedicated Shadchanim who have set up hundreds of Baltimore singles, events which have also produced hundreds of dates, and educational programs for different age groups which provide crucial guidance and chizuk. Additionally, we are a resource center, where people come with varying questions or needs. Shidduchimis a vast arena, and different people are looking for assistance in different areas. Whatever the need, we work to address it effectively, professionally, and sensitively.
Why was this organization started, and how did you become their Executive Director?
In short, shidduchim is an area of great need throughout Klal Yisroel. It impacts every community. In light of this global issue, and with the firm encouragement of our many local rabbanim, The Shidduch Center was established over a decade ago to create opportunities for Baltimore’ssingles, and ensure that their needs are never forgotten. In 2015, they were looking to reconstitute themselves to better serve our community. At that time, a Board member asked my father if he knew of any candidates to serve as Director. My father gave me the information, I applied for the position, and the rest is history.
What do you do for The Shidduch Center?
There are a number of roles I fill for The Shidduch Center. I regularly meet with singles and parents to help them better network with shadchanim. I also work extensively with families and shadchanim, trying to offer hadrachaas they navigate shidduchim, or provide clarity on delicate dating situations. These are the things I love the most about my job. Organizationally, I oversee the organization’s health and steady growth; working on program development, fundraising, and coordinating the many events we run each year with the help of our devoted volunteers.
Why is The Shidduch Center needed? Don’t we already have many shadchanim in Baltimore?
Indeed, we have lots of wonderful shadchanimin Baltimore who are working tirelessly, and we have a great working relationship with them! BoruchHashem, we are truly a community of achdus. But it’s just not enough. We are a very large community, getting bigger each year. Without a formal organization that employs shadchanimand incentivizes them to work harder and create more dates; that constantly runs events; and that is available night and day, we are leaving far too many cards on the table.
What kind of impact has the SC had on the community?
Our impact has been tremendous. Since Nov. 1, 2015, we have set up over 500 Baltimore couples, which has resulted in 56 marriages, b’ezrasHashem. But it is much more than that. Our community knows there is a place to turn for anything related to shidduchim, and the opportunity we have brought to Baltimore has resulted in all kinds of indirect results. Once there is a strong framework in place to create opportunity, the offshoots grow exponentially. In fact, our impact has been so inspiring that community leaders from Chicago, Detroit, LA, & Toronto have approached us for guidance and consultation as they established shidduchorganizations of their own.
How is the SC funded?
As a community organization, we are funded by the community at large. We are very fortunate to have people in our community that support us with larger gifts, but it really comes from everyone. It is thanks to donations of all sizes, generously given throughout the year, that we are able to function.
Does the SC have any big events coming up? Perhaps some sort of CauseMatch campaign?
How did you guess? Perhaps you noticed the cover of this fine magazine, or the promotional materials scattered across Baltimore? Yes, we have a CauseMatch campaigncoming up March 25 – 26. This is a huge event for us, and we are very excited to see the whole community come out and support The Shidduch Center’s exemplary work. If you are reading this, and would like to help, join us in our call center at Suburban Orthodox! And, of course, please donate!
What does the SC envision for the future?
More than anything else, we would like to expand our team of Dedicated Shadchanim, allowing us to support even more of Baltimore’s singles. With each additional shadchan, we see exceptional increases in productivity. The more shadchanimwe can motivate with our support, the more we can do for our community.
Why should a senior community member, or a young couple, care to support The Shidduch Center?
Our single men and women are remarkable. I witness this daily. They are fully valued members of Klal Yisroel, and they do great things for the Jewish nation. Nonetheless, marriage remains a major goal in Jewish life. Almost everyone has someone close to them that is in shidduchim. And even for individuals who don’t, as community members, it is vital to support our singles as they strive to accomplish their goal of marriage and building a family, b’ezras Hashem. Supporting The Shidduch Center shows that you deeply care for our singles, and truly want to see them all succeed.