Reprinted from the Where What When
Over the past three years, thanks to unparalleled siyata deShmaya, The Shidduch Center of Baltimore has been zochehto set up well over 500 couples on dates, and has seen 56 of those dates result in marriages, all for families in our community. While this incredible outcome is certainly representative of the work of numerous shadchanim, in combination with our many events and programs, it is without question that the vast majority of these results would not be possible without the exceptional efforts of our team of dedicated shadchanim.
However, a number of questions remain. What exactly is the correlation between The Shidduch Center of Baltimore and its dedicated shadchanim? Presumably, these shadchanimwould be setting up couples on their own, even without support, so why is it necessary to incorporate them into a formal organization? If these shadchanimwould be involved in shidduchimanyway, how can their results be attributed to the efforts of The Shidduch Center? Should all of these successes really be accredited equally to both the shadchanand the organization? There are many shadchanim, both in Baltimore and abroad, who regularly set up single men and women from Baltimore and who are not officially supported by The Shidduch Center. As such, what does our community gain by having an organization that supports a team of shadchanim?
These are all reasonable questions, and it would be an injustice to the many outstanding shadchanimwho indefatigably exert themselves here in Baltimore to assert that The Shidduch Center’s team of dedicatedshadchanimis the sole avenue to achieving results in our community. Nonetheless, it is equally correct to underscore that the The Shidduch Center’s team of dedicatedshadchanimis a monumental enhancement to our community and is bringing unheralded results to the singles of our wonderful city. In order to illuminate how this works, we’d like to share the words of our team of dedicated shadchanimthemselves.
It is my sincere hope that the following statements serve to elucidate that which lies at the heart of The Shidduch Center’s vital work and to ensure that the efforts of The Shidduch Center of Baltimore are understood and valued by our community members.
Mrs. Michelle Mond, Dedicated Shidduch Center Shadchan:
For those who are wondering about the exact nature of The Shidduch Center and its shadchanim, I need to state unequivocally that this is what enables me to allocate time every day to making shidduchim. Without the The Shidduch Center, I would not have the resources, platform, or accessibility to do what I do as a shadchan. Every couple that I have been able to set up on a date since joining The Shidduch Center and every engagement that I have been zochehto celebrate from those dates is a success story that would not have happened without the help of this amazing organization.
As a single woman from Baltimore, navigating the shidduchworld wasn’t easy for me. My friends and I often discussed the difficulties in getting in touch with shadchanim, going to New York almost every weekend for dates, and trying to expand our network in whatever ways we could. At that time, I decided that once Hashem saw to it that I got married, I would work on making shidduchimmyself to help those who were experiencing the same struggle that my friends and I faced not so long ago.
Baruch Hashem, as a young newlywed, I did just that. I spent hours late into the night working on ideas, forming initiatives, and implementing innovative ways to connect with single men and women and set them up. And Hashem allowed me to be successful. I learned how to be a coordinator, therapist, and coach, and that donning each hat was a necessity in order to achieve success.
However, as my family grew, I realized this was no longer feasible. Without exaggeration, I was spending an average of 10 hours each day working on shidduchim. I was interviewing new singles; speaking to parents; assisting in research; discussing new ideas; pushing for “yeses” despite friends and family inadvertently dissuading someone from taking advantage of a great opportunity – either before a yes was given, or even after a couple was in the middle of a productive dating experience; going the extra mile to convince out-of-town guys to travel to Baltimore; coordinating dates; and coaching many couples throughout the process. For shadchanim, there is no such thing as “after hours” or time off. And as a shadchan, I was able to see, and empathize with, the perspective of shadchanimin a profoundly new light.
It came to a point where I had to make a very difficult choice. Either I had to find a way to receive some compensation for my time, or I would have to stop redtingshidduchimand find another area wherein I could help support my family.
B’chasdei Hashem, that was when The Shidduch Center invited me to join their staff as a dedicated shadchan. And that is what has allowed me to keep going. The Shidduch Center provides me with the energy I need to continue my work and helps prevent burnout in an extremely difficult field. Moreover, ever since I started working under The Shidduch Center, my chief focus has been the singles of Baltimore. Indeed, 90 percent of the shidduchimI have been zochehto make have been for singles in Baltimore!
The Shidduch Center has also given me the opportunity to meet bachurimat events in Ner Yisrael, which has been a game-changer for me. This was completely unheard of in my own single days, and it has become a reality as a result of The Shidduch Center. Additionally, under The Shidduch Center’s direction, we have gone to yeshivos in New York and New Jersey, where I meet numerous bachurimI never would have met otherwise. This also allows Baltimore to make a lasting impression on other cities. The feedback we receive from roshei yeshivaand bachurim, who witness firsthand our organization’s devotion to shidduchim, makes it clear that we have made an indelible, positive impression along the East Coast.
Although shidduchimare ultimately in Hashem’s hands, The Shidduch Center’s presence and hishtadlusin our community has done incredible things for our singles, and their partnership with Hashem is an essential piece of bringing His brachato our community. Truly, it is one that we could not function without. And on a personal level, it allows me to be able to continue being a shaliachfor the single men and women of our community.
Mrs. Keren Traub, Dedicated Shidduch Center Shadchan:
I am grateful and honored to be part of The Shidduch Center. I originally got involved in shidduchimwhen my daughters started dating, and I began to think, What can I do?My initial response was to join a team of local women in preparing Meet the Shadchan events. These events were held under the auspices of The Shidduch Center, as they still are today. They allowed for many local and out-of-town shadchanimto meet single women in Baltimore, along with bachurimin Ner Yisrael, and resulted in hundreds of dates and many engagements. Additionally, I began setting up couples on my own. Baruch Hashem, I was zochehto have several engagements result from my efforts. Soon after, I was invited to join the Shidduch Center’s team of dedicated shadchanim.
Thanks to the support provided by The Shidduch Center, our team is able to focus most of our time and energy on Baltimore singles. I spend many hours meeting singles, working on getting them dates, and counseling daters as they navigate the complexities of shidduchimand relationships.
Being part of The Shidduch Center gives us the essential support that helps encourage our team to continue this avodas hakodesh. We are motivated to keep trying through thick and thin, and it has helped us to spend more time on shidduchim. The Shidduch Center has sponsored my participation in a training seminar for coaching so I can best advise the couples I work with – professionally, sensitively, and effectively. The Shidduch Center truly helps the singles in Baltimore go out on dates and meet their basherts – across many age ranges – and we always strive to meet the needs of families across the vast and wonderful spectrum of our city.
Our team has a set quota of dates that we need to maintain each month – a high quota, in fact – and that means dedicating many hours towards making sure that happens. Unfortunately, there is a very high rate of burnout for shadchanim, and few people ever see the countless hours spent by shadchanim, which can lead to feeling undervalued. The Shidduch Center’s support acknowledges and gives hakaras hatovfor all our many hours of hard work. And while it certainly doesn’t provide a comprehensive livelihood, it does deliver the motivation and recognition necessary to keep going. With Hashem’s help, I am setting up more couples now than I ever did in the past, and I know that my work is appreciated.
Through our team of dedicated shadchanim, our many events, and networking with countless other amazing shadchanim– locally and out of town – The Shidduch Center has taken up the mantle of communal responsibility when it comes to shidduchim. This helps give our singles great exposure through the best network possible and provides them with indispensable resources. This critical work is instrumental in assisting our singles in all areas.
Supporting The Shidduch Center is a central chesed. It provides our singles with more opportunities, and is building so many new families in Klal Yisrael. Whether one is in the parshaof shidduchim, has been able to marry off all of their children, or is many years away from shidduchim, supporting The Shidduch Center shows your support for our community and shows our singles that you care. Dating is like a dark tunnel, and for some people it can take a while to see the light at the other end. Supporting The Shidduch Center is a way that each of us can help bring that light to the single men and women of Baltimore, and is fundamental to building the future of Am Yisrael.
Mr. and Mrs. Efy and Penina Flamm, Dedicated Shidduch Center Shadchanim:
The Shidduch Center encourages us to make shidduchimfor local singles of so many ages. It is so important to our community that the The Shidduch Center of Baltimore is devoted to ensuring that our singles have as much opportunity as possible to succeed in shidduchim. The center’s year-round efforts have truly made a remarkable impact on our community.
Mrs. Shani Leiman, Dedicated Shidduch Center Shadchan:
When I first received a call from The Shidduch Center, asking me to be one of its dedicated shadchanim, I was intrigued and energized. I care immensely about the people I meet and attempt to set up, and the weight of that responsibility is something I live with and feel. Furthermore, pragmatically speaking, since the role of shadchanis intrinsically all-consuming, it can preclude one from full-time work in a different career, which consequently prevents some people from taking this role on.
Working alongside a team of people is both invigorating and immensely supportive. The knowledge that I receive compensation for my day-to-day work is the impetus that assures continued momentum, and makes the challenge that goes hand-in-hand with this job more manageable. This focus is a necessity in today’s challenging shidduchworld.
The Shidduch Center fuels its dedicated shadchanimto maximize their potential, which allows them to channel their limited time in a way that directly benefits local families. This, in turn, procures many more dates, and ultimately, many more successful shidduchimfor Baltimore’s singles. Many shadchanimspend endless hours helping people, and only get rewarded if a shidduchworks out. This often leads to burnout. Shadchanusis generally not commensurate with the endless hours put into all the attemptedshidduchima shadchanmakes, nor is it meant to be. It is only a reflection of that individual success. But what about all the other dates that were set up, all the hours of coaching, planning, and hand-holding?
Given the expanse of the task in our day and age, doesn’t a shadchandeserve to be paid for his or her time – just as any other professional would? To that end, The Shidduch Center is what allows its dedicated shadchanimto endure and succeed, and donors who support this organization are deserving of much praise. Through supporting The Shidduch Center, one becomes a facilitator, planting the seeds of possibility in a situation that is often fraught with apprehension and anxiety.
Furthermore, the events sponsored by The Shidduch Center are invaluable. The center facilitates meetings with numerous shadchanimand hundreds of singles in the hope that more matches will result. And, baruch Hashem, these efforts have been richly rewarded. Whether they are events for more experienced singles or those for the younger groups, The Shidduch Center plays a crucial role. The Shidduch Center also serves as a support when dealing with delicate shidduchsituations. There is always a listening ear available to help figure out a challenging issue, or perhaps more importantly, just to listen.
Whether or not one has a child in shidduchim, supporting The Shidduch Center can be equated with supporting any local tzedakaorganization. We generally do not ask ourselves, “Will I be a direct recipient of this particular tzedaka?” We just give, because that’s who we are as a Jewish nation. We support our friends, our brothers and sisters, and our neighbors when they are in need. We are gomlei chasadim. Shidduchimare no different, and it is an arena begging for support.
Mrs. Tova Rappaport, Dedicated Shidduch Center Shadchan:
There are a few thoughtsI would like to share regarding how being a member of The Shidduch Center’s team of dedicated shadchanimhas, without a doubt, helped me to set up more couples in our community.
First, The Shidduch Center arranges many Meet the Shadchan events for both single men and women. This broadens my base of singles so I can make more shidduchim. Second, as a mentor for The Shidduch Center, I have coached singles through the shidduchprocess, which has been extremely helpful in guiding many couples to the chupa. Third, and more personally, the positivity, support, encouragement – and even empathy – that comes from the administration of The Shidduch Center at each step of theshidduchprocess is incredible, and makes me want to do as much as I can as one of their dedicated shadchanim.
As far as the financial compensation, while it isn’t my primary motivation, it still most definitely helps, and allows me to maximize my potential. When a shadchanputs so much effort into a shidduchthat ends up not working out, it can be most frustrating and discouraging. Knowing that, even when a shidduchdoes not pan out, there is always appreciation shown for my work is like the gas in the tank that keeps the car running. Furthermore, as a shadchanfor The Shidduch Center, I prioritize shidduchimfor our local men and women, as my allegiance is first and foremost to Baltimore’s singles.
On a more communal level, the mere fact that a local shidduchinitiative exists in Baltimore emphasizes to our community that there is a need for everyone to focus on shidduchimfor our singles and motivates others to redt shidduchim, as well. Additionally, The Shidduch Center sponsors excellent educational events and evenings of inspiration that provide support and chizuk. Being part of an organization and community that values what all shadchanimdo is fantastic, and The Shidduch Center’s constant creation of so much opportunity, dates, and engagements encourages our singles by demonstrating that there are people out there who really care about them.
The Baltimore community is blessed with all sorts of chesedorganizations, and we are a nation that does chesed. Senior community members should want for others what they themselves were zochehto have, and those with young children should want for others that which one day will become a need of their own. Furthermore, we try to help as many people as possible, in so many areas, regardless of whether or not we ourselves have that need. We care about others, and should see assisting our single men and women to find their bashertand establish a bayis ne’eman b’Yisraelof their own as a mitzva which is as huge as any other.
Shlomo Goldberger, Executive Director:
All told, countless hours go into the making of just one date, let alone a marriage. And while The Shidduch Center’s support of its team of dedicatedshadchanimmay not fully compensate for the full scope of their work, it ensures that its dedicated shadchanimfeel appreciated and valued for their brilliant efforts, and are motivated to do even more for our singles. Simply put, The Shidduch Center’s framework creates opportunities which might otherwise never have been actualized.
Across klal Yisrael, communities are developing means of utilizing support of shadchanimto create opportunities for their singles. And seeing our success, b’ezras Hashem, many of these communities have turned to us for guidance as they craft their own organizations. Such efforts are what the world of shidduchimnow calls for, and they produce amazing results for the single men and women of klal Yisraelwho are our future.
For more information, contact The Shidduch Center of Baltimore at firstname.lastname@example.org, see www.shidduchcenter.org, or call 443-955-9887.