Why I don’t hate labels

labels.jpg 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 😉

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Now I Need the Girls!

Although my fingers feel heavy, my stomach feels queasy and my mind is thick with thoughts of the 3 boys Eyal, Gil-ad and Naftali, innocent children brutally kidnapped and murdered by Hamas, I push myself to try to help a fellow Jew. I dedicate this post in their honor. Even if no shidduch comes about from trying, may your efforts be an aliyah for their nashamot.

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Thanks so much for all the personal messages I received supporting me in doing my share to help singles.

In my last post (find it here), I requested specifically for people to pass on information about guys they know who are single as I was short on guys. I am happy to say I have received a nice amount of guys (yay!) to work with so I am really accepting info on ALL girls and guys you know! To be more direct, I am most familiar with and have worked with modern orthodox to yeshivish types and anything within that spectrum. Again, I ask of you all, think of people maybe a step further than your immediate circle, friends siblings, co-workers, boss’s child, child’s friend’s siblings. You NEVER know how it will come about. The shidduch I made came about after randomly meeting a stranger on the Brooklyn College campus who knew someone for someone I knew and the rest is history;)

Feel free to forward infos + pic to letsmakeashidduch@gmail.com. Feel free to contact me with any questions as well.

Please make sure there is a contact number to the single (or go-between) and a brief description of what the person is about, how they see themselves religiously and what type of person they are looking for. This helps me differentiate one from another as simple technical details do not help in me understanding what they’re about.

I really try to be non-judgmental, to understand each person’s needs, listen well to their requests in what they are looking for and how they describe their hashkafot.

Thanks so much!

 

PS I am working on something that will allow singles themselves to peruse through other singles out there and possibly help someone find their bashert on their own. I will be available to do the communication at first if they feel more comfortable that way. Details to follow!

Shidduchim and How YOU Can Help

As some of you may know, I’ve been actively involved in Shidduchim for many years. I’ve made one Shidduch so I know I can do it again 🙂

Unfortunately, my list trails with girls. And although I’ll accept any girl’s info, I’m truly seeking your help to find guys for my girls, ranging from Modern Orthodox to Yeshivish.

SO, I created an email just for shidduchim. Please feel free to send questions, profiles, and pictures to letsmakeashidduch@gmail.com.

My biggest pet peeve is when I get information that reads like a job resume, with all the technical details but without any description of the single as a person– I cannot help you if all I know is his/her camp, bungalow colony, references, and whether or not he or she was valedictorian. I don’t know the person from a hole in the wall, so if you’re coming to me for help I need to know whether the single is an atheist, conservative, Yeshivish, learning, wears skirts, pants, or turbans. I exaggerate, of course, but you get the idea. The more I read about you (not too long, save that for the date!) the better feel I get.

So please be sure there is a paragraph on what you or the single is looking for type-wise, hashkafically, religiously. Also, I need pictures. If you’d like me not to share them, please specify, but I need to see what you look like. It helps me remember you as I’m a visual person.

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There is really so much I’d love to discuss on this topic but I’ll rein myself in (or try;)) and concentrate on how we can help the singles who remain after the initial burst of engagements post high school/seminary/college.

For many, “Shidduchim” means excitement, a whirlwind of fun and joy – but for many, many others, it connotes loneliness, judgment, and hardship.

Although I didn’t get married late myself, I feel a super strong connection with and sympathy for singles in our community, who leave weddings happy for their friends but with sadness in their hearts. For once their friends are married, and many begin having children, these singles are left behind in the dust. It’s very difficult to live in a community where laughing kids and a husband to link your arm into are the norm when you have neither.

And here’s the biggest problem:

So many times I’ve asked people if they know any guys – or even girls – whom I can set up with a particular person, and the expression of not only lack of effort but interest breaks my heart. I cringe when right off the bat they say they don’t know anyone.

No, a name may not come to mind immediately. But pause for a minute. Think of your neighbor, your son’s friend, your co-worker’s daughter.

It’s a regrettable truth that once people gets married, they tend to forget how hard it is to be single. Marriage, kids, life keeps us all busy. I know that personally. I don’t think anyone is intentionally thoughtless.

And of course there are people who focus their time and energy on other wonderful endeavors – collecting for the less fortunate, making rounds in hospitals, etc. – and Kol HaKavod to them. If they can’t concentrate full time on Shidduchim, that’s understandable.

 

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But it would be really amazing if people stopped for just a minute, thought about the singles they might possibly know, and passed those names on to someone who does focus on setting people up. It’s all about connections.

And singles out there, please don’t be shy about asking for yourselves. It’s uncomfortable, awkward, and maybe you feel embarrassed. But do it for no one else but yourselves. You never know when you may hit the jackpot.

SO EVERYONE I NEED YOUR HELP!!

Please take a moment: if you’re not single or looking, think of your friend’s brother, sister, neighbor, Shul member, cousin’s kid. You never know.

Send me names, profiles, and pictures, and maybe we can work some magic!

Thanks everyone!

~Devorah