I have been dating for a couple of years now. I went to a seminary that now has a different kind of name – namely, a negative one.
I am a good girl and never had any issues. I have had plenty of boys say no to me because of my seminary. Some people have told me to change the seminary on my résumé.
What do you recommend?
While I certainly empathize with the unfortunate nature of this dilemma, and can even appreciate the sentiment behind the proposed workaround, I would personally be rather reluctant to second such a motion. First, to pen an outright lie on one’s résumé strikes me as both bad practice and halachically questionable. Second, strategically speaking, it is more likely than not that those looking into the shidduch will be told the truth vis-à-vis seminary, and the resulting discrepancy will then immediately raise a flag, as it will appear as if one is going out of their way to hide something significant from their past. Similarly, eliminating any mention of seminary from one’s profile will most probably lead to the same conclusion in the eyes of those considering the shidduch.
That being the case, my recommendation would be to take a more proactive approach. Doing so will require some time and legwork on the front end, but I strongly feel that a concerted precautionary effort will produce dividends that should make the exertion wholly worthwhile. In essence, the goal would be to notify as many people as possible who are closely involved in one’s dating life, apprise them of the situation, and talk them through how best to respond to incoming shidduch calls.
This would mean speaking with a relatively large cohort of one’s inner circle, such as any shadchanim one is regularly working with, along with any others that reach out with ideas; one’s rav and teachers; the references listed on one’s résumé; and any other friends or relatives that are prone to receive calls on one’s behalf. The goal of the conversation would be to describe the current challenge to this collective of confidants, and direct them towards preemptive and preventative measures, instead of anyone having to engage in damage control after a prospective shidduch has already made an adverse presumption.
Meaning to say, whether or not the question of seminary is broached by the inquirer, the one who is replying should be prepared to make a conscious effort to tastefully and intuitively dispel any potentially erroneous deductions. This could be accomplished in a very frank and straightforward manner, wherein the person who is responding to the call might find an opening to say something along the lines of, “… You know, X is a really fantastic young woman. I have heard that some people in the past had concerns about her seminary, but the truth is that was a very different institution when X went there. The type of students there now are not the same as in earlier years, as they segued into serving a different demographic, but when X went there it attracted a different crowd entirely. It is such a chaval that other people have squandered such a wonderful opportunity simply because they were misled about this topic, and I really wouldn’t want anyone else to make the same mistake and miss out on dating such an outstanding young woman simply due to outdated information.”
B’ezras Hashem, as time passes, and as this message is disseminated by formidable figures as matter-of-fact and basic knowledge (as opposed to it sounding like an excuse of some sort), it will become the assumption from the outset. And as more and more people gather the correct understanding of things, the problem will hopefully melt away with preternatural haste, becoming nothing more than a barely recognizable relic of the past.
May the Yodeiah Machshavos see to it that only honest and helpful words are spoken by all those in shidduchim, and by all of Klal Yisroel, in all places and at all times.