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Baltimore hires full time shadchun to combat shidduch crisis

I was in Baltimore this past shabbos and while reading one of the local free papers there was an article about Baltimore hiring a full time shadchun paying him 75k a year with hopes that it will alleviate the shidduch crisis. All I have to say is this, aren’t there way too many shadchuns already? In my opinion they, with their silly questions, month long back round checks aren’t really helping the situation. Plus someone should try and think progressively, not regressively, full time shadchuns for cities are things of the past. Things of the past don’t seem to be working, hence heterim for internet usage by frummies who want to find their zivug. I just feel that if they want to help the problem they should think of new solutions.

Like coed kiddush clubs for singles or even more singles events, seems that there are so many singles and no singles events. Then they have a weekend and it costs $300. Just my two cents.

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • C. Siegel September 16, 2008, 9:59 AM

    Good ideas, all. I really do think the shudduch system (as opposed to “dating for tachlis”) fails so many people is because it is too darn serious and freighted for many people. You have to make the final cut too soon, and there are lots of non-obese, attractive people who just don’t interview well.

  • Shua September 16, 2008, 10:15 AM

    great idea hesh on the singles kiddush club. def agree that more coed events is the way to go. but mainstream baltimore needs to be brought into the present in this area. we’re working on it.

  • Larry September 16, 2008, 10:26 AM

    When I hit onlysimchas 3 days in a row and don’t see any postings for engagements and weddings, then maybe I’ll believe theres a crisis. Plenty of people are getting married, just maybe not the people you happen to know.

  • Marooned in the Midwest September 16, 2008, 10:31 AM

    I agree on the idea of co-ed singles kiddushes and events. I would love to see more of that stuff.

    I think the problem is that there is a mentality in the leadership of many communities that believes that social intermingling of the sexes is assur. Kind of hard to have a singles kiddush with a big old mechtizah running down the center.

  • Shua September 16, 2008, 11:27 AM

    @larry that was stupid. it’s a question of percentages, not numbers.

  • Larry September 16, 2008, 11:35 AM

    Maybe it’s just people are finally realizing marriage isn’t the way to go. You end up with some fat lady who makes your life miserable. And what’s the percentage of the frum ladies in your community who aren’t fat? Also, less people are financially ready for marriage than ever. So if waiting till your older and have a steady job is the right thing to do, the marriage age becomes later.

  • Marooned in the Midwest September 16, 2008, 11:44 AM

    Wow, Larry. Last time I looked around most of the frum men aren’t so svelte either. And who says a skinny woman can’t make a man just as miserable.? Being hungry all the time and dieting is a sure fire way to bring out the bitch in a gal.

    I am totally in favor of more co-ed events for singles. I would much rather meet someone that way than in the forced enviroment of a shidduch date. The problem is that the leadership of most communities heavily frowns on social mingling of the sexes. Kind of hard to meet someone at a kiddush with a big ol’ mechitzah running down the middle of the room. I wish that would change, but I don’t see it happening any time soon.

  • Shua September 16, 2008, 1:39 PM

    @larry second post much better! i’m in enough hot water here already so we’ll leave it at that. maybe i’ll do some work…

  • The Babysitter September 16, 2008, 2:56 PM

    I agree with Marooned in the Midwest.

    “I think the problem is that there is a mentality in the leadership of many communities that believes that social intermingling of the sexes is assur. ”
    That’s exactly it.

    I used to agree with them and think that the mixing and socializing wasn’t good. But then recently I went to a shabbos meal that was mixed and I had such a good time and I no longer see what can be bad about it. But I know people that won’t sit at a mixed table, especially the men, they believe they have to always be separate. It may be hard for some to understand, but that’s their view and you can’t really change it. So for those types of frum people you can’t force them to have mixed events to help the shidduch crissis, because it won’t necessarily help. They have a different comfort level, they aren’t used to mingling and a large crowd will just make them more uncomfortable. For them knowing that meeting someone through a Shadchan is the proper way allows them to not feel guilty about talking to a guy and feel more comfortable in acting themselves.

    Also, the whole point of a Shadchan is for tachlis reasons, that there should be no getting to know the opposite gender if it’s not for the sake of marriage. With a mixed even there will be tons of mingling among different people, although you may think of it as just friendly chatter, others may see no reason for it. They are afraid that people will invest emotional energy into a relationship that really has no future. People will get disappointed and turned off. People would stay in a comfort zone in a relationship and not move it on to the next level since there is no shadchan behind them.

  • s(b.) September 16, 2008, 3:33 PM

    Here’s a co-ed singles event (copied and pasted from ou dot org):
    Pre-Rosh Hashanah Supper & Shiur
    Date: Thursday, 25 Sep, 2008

    Join singles from around the New York City area for an inspirational and intellectual presentation titled: The Personal Experience of Rosh Hashanah: Holiday or Day of Awe?

    Given by: Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter, University Professor of Jewish History and Jewish Thought – Senior Scholar, Center for the Jewish Future, Yeshiva University

    Location: The Jewish Center
    131 W 86th Street, New York, NY

    Buffet dinner precedes the shiur at 6:30 PM for $10 (pre-registration required*)
    Shiur begins at 7:15

    For singles in their 20’s and 30’s
    Bring your friends and spread the word!
    * RSVP: 212-613-8300

    I’ve never been to a singles event, but I’d go on a dare, just for fun. For $10, that’s not bad. I’m guessing the RSVP requirement is so they know how much food to order.

  • s(b.) September 16, 2008, 3:45 PM

    lol — this is awesome — paul schaeffer (from david letterman’s band) made a video for lashon hara awareness (this shabbos). It’s up here:
    ou dot org/ou/event_more/national_day_of_lashon_hara_awareness

  • Nama Frenkel September 16, 2008, 6:25 PM

    Actually the frum community of Baltimore has had a number of official conversations about mixed events in public at a hotel in Hunts Valley, right near the frum community, but not quite walking distance.

    Reb Dovid Cohen of Brooklyn speaks every year at the annual meeting of the Association of Jewish Outreach Professional held every year for the past 8 or 9 years in Baltimore.

    This scene is pretty Charedi by any measure, but the people who attend are outreach professionals so they have to tolerate the existence of the opposite sex in public.

    Interestingly, every single year that I’ve attended, in the last 8 years or so, Reb Dovid Cohen answers the same question from the floor.

    Reb Dovid is the unofficial “posek” of the “kiruv” movement. For some reason AJOP does not included anyone that I could identify by hat as CHABAD. For some odd reason the rest of the frum world ignores Chabad or Chabad ignores them or both. But, I digress.

    RDC patiently answers the same question every year. Tape and CDs of these talks are for sale at every AJOP convention and I think they are on their web site, if anyone wants to confirm my comments.

    Every year a “newbie” always asks whether they are allowed to have “mixed” events. Their concern is usually that a man and woman might meet at a frum event and… One year, RDC pointedly asked, and “if they met in a bar, what would happen? Are you somehow causing them to do something they wouldn’t do otherwise?”

    In my view, that is a point well taken…

    RDC also quotes poskim from the last 1000 years on the subject of mixed smachot, though he says “simchas.” He says that there have been “normative” Orthodox communities that have permitted mixed simchas since the beginning of Jewish history. He says “some allow it and some don’t.”

    The challenge for Baltimore is that there are many, many literate people who actually know this and no one call fool them into believing in Santa Claus or the “world is flat” view of Jewish history. That view would be the one where Moshe Rabenu wore a shtriemel and ate cholent. I’m sorry to break the news to people who believe in both Santa Claus and the tooth fairy, it’s entirely possible that Moshe Rabenu dressed like an Egyptian (says so in the Torah BTW) and ate food that was normal in Midian, probably not the cholent that they ate in Bobov or even in Warsaw.

    And my children’s grandparents have made it eminently clear to me that in the “alter haim” the people not only attended mixed events, they actually kissed non-relatives. And they still do, as anyone who has ever attended a simcha with actual survivors on that charming world in Poland can testify.

    As far as mixed events in the USA, at my wedding at Menorah Hall in Boro Park Brooklyn, Reb Shlomo Twerski, ZTZL instructed his students to take away the mechitza.

    Any schadchan will tell you that if young men and women can’t see each other through the mechitza, they will not know if they have that secret ingredient known as “chemistry.”

    Without that ingredient, as anyone who has been married for more than 10 minutes will tell you, marriage is impossible.

    Actually marriage is still impossible if you have chemistry, but it’s possible to overcome the obstacles if you have it and probably completely impossible if you don’t.

    Tell all the single people you know that the grandmother who has an actual husband and seven grandchildren in Jerusalem says that if you don’t look them over from a distance, it will probably be impossible to talk with them in person.

  • Mikeinmidwood September 16, 2008, 9:50 PM

    Heres a great way to find out about someone without going to extreme ways and months of searching. get a paper (handwritten) on any subject and take it to a graphologist they will then tell how the persons behavior is by looking at how the person writes. They use this method in business.

  • The Babysitter September 16, 2008, 10:00 PM

    MikeInMidwood: they actually do that, the frum people. One shadchan even asked for my time of birth for some astrological thing, for 50 dollars they would do a test, I said no thanx. He said the person who usually does the handwriting analysis was giving too long of a description so they stopped with that.

  • anonymous September 16, 2008, 11:05 PM

    Okay, I actually live in Baltimore. That article is making it sound waaay better than the reality. I actually did meet with the shadchan quoted there, it was pretty much a waste of time, like a 5 minute interview where he just asked me about my family (i.e. what all my siblings do) and hardly anything about myself. That was a month ago, I haven’t heard back from him (not that I expected to); I’m sure that the 2oo suggestions or 17 dates or whatever that he arranged were for much younger singles, people in their early 20’s (who have fairly easy time getting set up). Not for those 30 and over, I’m sure.

  • anonymous September 16, 2008, 11:10 PM

    Since I can’t edit, I just want to make a change to my post above–it was actually more than a month ago, probably closer to two months ago.

    He seemed like a decent guy, I should say, not like some really obnoxious shadchanim that I have met. But I think the people who hired him really want him to work on the “older girls” and reading between the lines, I think they told him he had to meet with those singles, not just the younger ones who are easy to set up ( if only because they all seem the same and all seem to want the same type of person).

  • Frum Satire September 16, 2008, 11:18 PM

    Actually I hear he was hired because of some Baltimore connections.

  • Yochanan September 16, 2008, 11:53 PM


    Getting a handwriting analysis only proves that you believe that handwriting is a good judge of someone’s character.

    I by the way have “serial killer” handwriting.

  • sheva September 17, 2008, 8:31 AM

    Does this mean star k is no longer giving out cash for locals who make Baltimore shiduchs. Great now how am i going to pay my sons tuition this year. There really is a tuition crisis!!!

  • Phil September 17, 2008, 9:20 AM

    $75K seems like a big waste for Baltimore. I don’t know who fronted this dude’s salary, probably some relative on some board that is in charge of some public / communal fund.

    Traditionally, Shadchans get paid when they make a match that works, just like other types of “matchmakers” such as real estate or freight brokers. If despite this fact they have such a crisis, do they now think that someone that is paid weekly whether his matches work out or not, will achieve better results?

    I’ve mentioned this before, but what happened to the Tu B’av ceremonies that our ancestors used to find their mates? For 75K, I think Baltimore could throw a massive singles party on Tu Bav with all it’s original minhagim (dancing girls, etc.) and achieve a lot more for their money.

    Of course you would probably have the chumra police ban Tu B’av, but that’s another story.

  • Sarah September 17, 2008, 9:35 AM

    I just finshed reading the article in the Where What When, and what stood out to me was where they mentioned that Mayer Brull commutes to Baltimore however often to met with people. Ummm, he doesn’t even live in Baltimore? I understand he used to live there (I remember him as a kid), but to hire someone who no longer lives in the community seems awfully silly to me.

  • Shua September 17, 2008, 9:39 AM

    @Nama great post.

    anyone that’s in baltimore and wants to work on this, contact me (follow the jumps and you’ll at least get to my facebook page). of course there’s the Baltimore Chevra which you should join too. there are enough of us here that if we are willing to rock the boat a bit we can make changes for the good of all.

  • joseph kanowitz October 5, 2008, 9:43 PM

    please put you on your mail list

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