Shidduch dating guide

shidduch dating shadchanFound this old shidduch dating guide on Bang It Out, and apparently its dated and anonymously written – but holds true for shidduch dating of the 80s and 90s, today’s shidduch game appears to be vastly different, but still its funny and contains a glossary and common outcomes. On a side note If you think you have what it takes to write a guide to the yeshivos and seminaries in Israel – please email me


I. The Slick New Yorker

Yeshivos: Mir, Toras Moshe, Bais Yisroel, Mercaz HaTorah, Ner Moshe

Appearance :Shows up in $300.00 Italian designer suit, high-gloss shoeshine, black hat with requisite 2 1/4 inch brim and pearl stickpin at 35 degree angle, exposing hi-vogue hair which was razor cut at Marcel’s the previous day. May sport very short beard, but usually clean cut; smells of aftershave.

Background: Father went to Torah VaDaas, then made fortune in diamonds or wholesale merchandising. Slick went to Torah VaDaas, Mir, or Chaim Berlin high schools (maybe Denver if he was wild, or Adelphia if he was really wild.) Summers spent bumming around The Mountains, or working in kitchen at Magen Av if his father was heavily on his case. Will go to yeshiva a few years, then live in New York and work for father.

On Date : First thing Slick will say is, ‘Mind if I smoke?’ That is if he is very polite. If not, will just assume date does not mind, or won’t care whether she minds. Will talk about lousy conditions of dorm and food at his yeshiva (he usually eats out anyway), his last summer’s fun at Woodbourne, the Viennese table at his sister’s wedding. Loves to play ‘Jewish Geography’, and will undoubtedly figure out at least a dozen people he and date both know. Refers to anyone from outside Flatbush and Boro Park as ‘out of towners’, considers them hicks.

II. The Frummy

Yeshivos : Mir, Brisk, Toras Moshe, Lakewood, Ohr Somayach, Meshach Chochmah, Torah Or

Appearance : Wears expensive single breasted suit on dates, with pants ending in straight hem, one inch above shoes (unfortunately, he will spend the rest of his life wearing mismatched pieces of brown and blue pinstriped suits together.) Polyester tie with spot where someone’s cigarette melted it. Black hat, 2″ brim, no pin, no feather, no angle. Scraggly beard which tends to collect food particles; behind the ear payos; wire-rim, thick glasses.

Background : Most likely to have attended some frum high school (Torah Temimah, Mir, etc.), but may have gone to regular day school or even public high school, and ‘blacked out’ in yeshiva afterwards. Considers college to be the main instrument of the sitra achra; plans on at least 10 years in kollel. Tendency to be somewhat neurotic.

On Date : Gets up immediately after arrival in restaurant or lounge to check who mashgiach is. Then, excuses himself again to daven ma’ariv (lots of kavannah here, so give him 20 minutes). Agonizes over banana split, trying to figure out which bracha should go first. Doesn’t really know what to talk to girls about (though he’s read ‘Made in Heaven’, ‘The Jewish Way in Love and Marriage’, and ‘The Kettle, the River and the Bird’ at least twice each), so talks about current sugya in Baba Basra, assuming girl will be as fascinated as he is.

III. The All American

Yeshivos :Chofetz Chaim, Aish HaTorah, Machon Shlomo, Keser Torah

Appearance: Nice, beautifully pressed suit. Hat with standard brim, sometimes black but often (yes!) gray or brown, worn at jaunty angle, with full feather (will always dress like this), May be clean-shaven with 1960’s style sideburns, or wear a yekke beard which looks like it was trimmed by computer. Rosy cheeks; big smile.

Background: Went to Sha’arei Torah, Baltimore, or Chofetz Chaim (any branch except L.A.); or perhaps NEAT or one of the better day schools. Has been at Magen Av every summer for the last 10 years, most recently as counsellor or learning rebbe. Has (will have if he’s under 22) degree in computers from some gut college ( e.g. Touro, Rockland, maybe Brooklyn), but hopes to go into chinuch.

On Date: Opens doors and pulls out chairs for her like he’s performing on an Emily Post home video. Tells tasteful but humorless jokes, long stories about his Rosh Yeshiva, in effort to keep date entertained. Spends half an hour reading the menu and kiairing about the relative advantages of each item, before choosing a Coke (“two cubes, please…shaken, not stirred.”) Delivers d’var Torah at end of meal in best pulpit style. Can’t hold himself back from singing along with Dveykus III record playing in Gal-Paz when they walk by.

IV. The Zionist

Yeshivos : Kerem B’Yavneh, Sha’alvim, Gush, Bet El, Kiryat Arba, Machon Meir, Brovender’s

Appearance: Will invariably show up for date in sandals with no socks, dark blue pants, white short-sleeve shirt (Sears), and a large crocheted kippah with his name on it sifting on the side of his head. Usually sports mustache, though any facial hair pattern possible except for the Elvis ‘burns. In coldest winter will put on dubon and paratrooper boots he lifted from his roommate.

Background: High school education courtesy of MTA, Toronto, Valley Torah, Ramaz, or any standard modern orthodox yeshiva. Father is president of modern orthodox shul in Cleveland or someplace. Has belonged to shul’s B’nai Akiva chapter since he was eight (no, don’t tell him that B.A. joke-he’s heard it), acted as Rosh Snif for past several years. Went to Y.U., or possibly some high brow liberal arts school in the East, where he was active in AIPAC and Hillel.

On Date : Will order orange juice, spend an hour explaining the difference between Kach and Gush Emunim; speaks loudly to the waitress in poor Hebrew, with an adopted accent which is halfway between Boris Karloff and Puerto Rican. Explains plans to return to America for an MBA, ‘… so I can be more useful in the Israeli economy’ (Will actually go back, get MBA, and stay in America, usually).

V The Nature Boy

Yeshivos :Aish HaTorah, Brovender’s, Machon Shlomo, Shappell’s

Appearance :Feels casual approach on dates is best, so comes in what he wears every day-baggy cords, occasions, Shetland sweater over button-down. If he’s feeling formal, may throw on crumpled Harris Tweed jacket. Hair always looks windblown. Usually wears medium length, well trimmed beard for that rustic, down home Jewish look. Large kippah-may be black velvet, leather, knit, or Yemenite.

Background : Two types –

A. Father is a modern orthodox rabbi out West or in New England. Nature boy went through normal day-school education, Camp Moshava summers. After high school, tried Telshe or Chaim Berlin, hated it, came to Jerusalem for soul experience.

B. From modern family in Southern California or some funky place. Went to public high school or progressive day school (e.g. Maimonides). Came to Israel after Ivy League education; lived off campus in ‘bayit” Jewish cooperative home with flower children.


Appearance: Hair either short or pulled back and braided. Large secretary glasses. Lots of green, gray, burgundy wool clothing-tartan plaid shirts, fair-isle sweaters or cardigans, Burberry trench in cold weather. Medium heels, Coach bag.

Background: Attended day school, Bais Ya’akov, or non-denominational private school (maybe public high school, if she’s from Beverly Hills or Bexley), but qualified out by testing when she was 16 and attended City College for two years. Finished degree in English literature, European History, or some other esoteric discipline in small liberal arts school ( e.g. Sarah Lawrence, Reed), before coming to Israel. Has perfect grammatical command of Hebrew language, including noun declensions and irregular verbs, but horrible accent.

On Date : Will always have a suggestion of what to do if gentleman runs out of ideas. Knows way around Jerusalem thoroughly, from yeshiva’s hesed program. Orders carrot juice and oatmeal cake. Converses about different approaches of various ba’alei Tosafos, repeating themes in Koheles, and her current interest in rare manuscripts of Rambam’s Iggeret Tayman; date is usually left in complete confusion, allowing her the floor for most of the evening.


Yeshivos : Can be found in almost any seminary

Appearance : Seems to wear Shabbos clothes all week. Heavy makeup, perfume. Dress will be designer, dry clean only, on which somebody will almost certainly spill something during course of date. Serious high heels. Hair teased so carefully it appears to miraculously defy gravity.

Background: JAP may or may not be from New York, but has always perfected that Boro Park accent. If she is from New York, will have gone to Prospect Park, Bais Ya’akov or similar schools. If from ‘out of town’ (Baltimore, Atlanta, L.A .), will have gone to Bais Ya’akov only, where she picked up Brooklyn accent from teachers. College is out. The very few who aren’t married by the end of second year seminary (Rachmana chas!) will get an apartment in Flatbush and teach until they can correct the situation.

On Date : Walks slowly, carrying herself like the Queen Mary. Heels sound like rifle shots on pavement of Rehov Shlomzion HaMalka. Refuses to walk on wet grass in Liberty Bell Park. Lingers by store windows, commenting on ugliness of clothes displayed. Inside, talks about clothes, New York. The JAP is not necessarily shallow or dumb – that’s just what happens to interest her. Always runs into people she knows and after berating acquaintances from afar, will give them a big hug and keep date waiting 1/2 hour while talking.


Yeshivos :Sharfman’s, EYHH”T, Michlala, B’nos Chayil, Neve

Appearance : Lots of knits-usually sweater with brightly colored horizontal stripes or geometric pattern over long knit skirt. Hair worn long, constantly being brushed away from eyes so as to punctuate statements with more visible facial expression. Glazed, entranced look in eyes may be carried over from NCSY, or instilled by seminary. Background: Standard day school or public school. Often from obscure localities like Nome, Alaska or Chicago, Illinois. Very likely to have been (though not necessarily) an actual, heavy duty NCSYer; often a regional president or national officer. Whether or not from NCSY, was certainly a happy bopper in high school, participated in sports, yearbook committee and such like. Has become intense and philosophical in yeshiva.

On Date : Speaks about her rebbeim with liberal use of superlatives like “incredible”, ‘amazing’, ‘unbelievable’. Also to be found in almost any given sentence are the words ‘mamesh’ and ‘HaShem’. Will talk about how wonderful Jerusalem is, how holy all the people walking around seem to be (a bit of misguided sincerity based on the assumption that everyone who dresses like her teachers is also an exemplary personality underneath). Score points by mentioning to her that you listen to ‘The Marvelous Middos Machine’.

IV. The Practical Homemaker

Yeshivos : Machon Devorah, Sarah Schneur, Bais Ya’akov, Machon Rivkin

Appearance : Hair pulled back severely from face, or cut short. Often looks like a shaitel even though it’s her own. Wire frame glasses. Little or no makeup; no perfume. Clothes appear to be (and probably are) fourth generation hand-me-downs, carefully rehemmed and pressed. Will never buy new clothes, but rather make them herself or revamp old closet potatoes.

Background: Went to Sarah Schneur, Bais Ya’akov, Prospect Park or Bais Rivkah high school. Got high marks, but never participated in extracurricular activities or went on field trips. Instead, went home to play Parchesi with grandmother and bake chocolate chip cookies. Spent last summer volunteering in hospital pediatric ward and taking correspondence course on practical home plumbing and repairs.

On Date: Gets right down to business; asks what he plans to do for parnassah, how many kids he wants to have, where he expects to live-all on first date. Not to be unfair, lays down her own credentials at same time; the mercantile approach. Makes disapproving clucking noises over glasses if she does not approve of his answers, or if he spills soup on his tie. May check references with his Rosh.


I) Aunt Raizel – Elderly aunt, lives in Rechavia. Always trying to fix you up with best friend’s neighbor’s third cousin. Sole criterion for compatibility is similar age (give or take a dozen years).

II) The RoshYeshiva – Head of women’s seminary; always expects his (or her) girls to marry Mir kollel-bound types, and always profoundly shocked when they don’t. Makes men sweat heavily during interview and feel they don’t deserve the privilege of his time. Fixes girls up with most boring men in city.

III) The “Professional’ – Usually a lady with a large family; may also teach in seminary. Girls make Beelines around her in shul and at school. Men come to be interviewed-“How tall are you? What do your parents do? What do you have to offer a young lady?” Will fix you up once (twice if you really bug her), and assumes if it fails it’s your own fault, because the match was perfect ‘on paper’.

IV) The Kollel Couple – Married for a relatively short time, so still keen on shidduchim. Fix up women from her old seminary with men who learn in yeshiva where his kollel meets. Are usually so excited about match that they call you at midnight to find out how it went. Don’t knock it though-they have a high success rate.

*wonderful middos = looks like s/he has been in a head-on with a freight train.

*nice looking = ugly

*attractive = does not require a bag over his/her head to be seen with in public.

*well groomed = has showered within the Last week

*best boy in the yeshiva = managed to get in, barely, with assistance of his uncle, the Rosh.

*from a good family = parents are on speaking terms and no immediate relatives in jail.

*very intelligent = very boring

*plans to go into hinuch = hasn’t figured out what to do with himself yet.

*tall(man) = 5 7 ” to 7’1

*short(man) = 4’1 ” to 5′

*tall(woman) = Amazon

*short(woman) = sub-midget

*a bit shy = under psychiatric care for neurosis

*quiet = had a frontal lobotomy

Slick New Yorker and JAP get married, live in Flatbush, vacation in Florida and raise obnoxious children. Spend the rest of their lives boring friends with stories of the “wild’ times in Israel.

Frummy guy marries practical homemaker. They settle down in Mattersdorf, where she runs a laundry service and he learns in kollel for the next 30 years. Their eleven kids blend perfectly into Jerusalem haredi society, vote Degel.

The intellectual girl marries a nature boy or a Zionist . They live in Chicago, where he turns into a square insurance salesman and she works on her Ph.D. They assuage guilt feelings by sending large checks to JNF and their former yeshivos, and by vacationing in Israel every other year.

The All-American guy marries an NCSY’er , and they live in Har Nof or Ramot for the next four years while he is in kollel. They then move to Buzzard’s Beak, Louisiana to help start a yeshiva, but disillusionment brings them back to Jerusalem. He lands a job teaching at Ma’arava.

Note: These outcomes are by no means universal. The combinations quite often turn out in unexpected ways ( e.g. practical homemaker girl with nature boy; JAP with Zionist), but those mentioned are typical.