As some of you know, I try to set up singles. There are many factors that go into setting people up, and I’ve found that one of the trickier aspects of dating in the religious world is the application of labels.
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times: “I hate labeling myself.” While nobody likes to be pigeonholed, allow me to explain why this often bemoaned point is not only beneficial but necessary.
Looking up at the night sky with your naked eye (assuming you’re not in a city!), you can see billions of stars. They’re beautiful to behold, but they all look kind of…identical. You try setting up two random stars and hoping the night won’t end in tears! Once you look through, say, the Hubble telescope, you begin to see that some of the stars are actually planets or other space objects (hey, I’m not an astronomer!). Perhaps this comet would really get along with that comet, you’d start to think. Now you can get cooking, to mix metaphors.
In other words, if someone refuses to label themselves, how am I supposed to know if I should suggest a match who’s Yeshivish vs someone who’s on the liberal side of Modern Orthodox?
When I talk to singles, I say: first provide me with your general label and then we can get into the details of what that label means to you. Labels are very much relative – what’s “modern” for a Chassidish person isn’t “modern” for a Modern Orthodox person. My rule is, let’s put you in a box, and then we can open the lid. Oh, and we can even add compartments 😉