I was on instant messenger with a good friend this morning and we were lamenting the state of dating for liberal Jews in Chicago. I commented that the shidduch crisis in the Reform movement is that nobody is doing any matchmaking. We’re left to our own devices – aka Jdate – and we struggle through alone.
Okay, some background.
Shidduch dating in the orthodox Jewish world is dating specifically to find your future spouse. When people make a shidduch, as I understand it, they are matchmaking. Making an introduction between two singles they think might hit it off. There’s a bunch of talk about a shidduch crisis on orthodox blogs – not enough men or men wanting younger women, leaving the older singles to become old maids. Something like that.
Friends and comic Heshy Friedjust published a post of awkward shidduch moments. There is the blog Holy Shidduch where people can leave anonymous stories of Shidduch dates gone horribly wrong. There’s Bad for Shidduchim and Aliza from Jewminicana wrote a great post about how if she and her husband had relied on a matchmaker, they wouldn’t have been introduced. There’s also Frum N Flipped – a religious woman that has made aliyah and is still searching for her beshert.
Here’s the thing…
When I read about the world of shidduch dating in the Orthodox world I’m both releived that I’m not a part of it and sad that I’m not a part of it. I wish people took matchmaking more seriously in the liberal Jewish world. I wish my rabbi would call me up and say, “Leah, I’ve got someone you might be interested in, would you like me to introduce you.” I wish that I was better about seeing potential romantic matches within my growing social circle and better at saying, “Friend, I’ve got someone you might want to date.” I wish there was a way in Chicago to break out of the world of YLD (Young Leadership Division of the Federation) and JDate. A way to meet a man that someone that knows both of us thinks will be a good match for me.
Since I converted four years ago, I’ve been set up on ONE date and I was set-up by a reader of my blog. She did a great job – on paper, we were a perfect match. In reality, we didn’t have the chemistry. But Jendeis took the time to say, “International travel, educated, geographically desirable” and then make an introduction.
So here is my call to the Reform movement, to secular Jews, to Jews outside of Orthodoxy – MORE MATCHMAKING PLEASE. Let’s replace Jdate with matchmaking… Introductions made by people that know both parties. That have an idea who we are as real people and not just how we present ourselves online.