Monday, October 22, 2007

Changing Shidduch Making--a Buyers and Sellers Market

New York City has any number of venues that can handle large convention and exposition crowds. Other "Jewish" businesses already take advantage of these convention centers, such as the yearly Kosher Expo. Companies from all ends of the kosher spectrum come together to showcase their products. It saves time, it saves money and what is more, it works. What if we were to take advantage of these venues for the purpose of shidduchim? That's right, Jewish Shidduch InfoQuest 2008.

Imagine if you could get all the volunteer shidduch groups in the City and the surrounding areas to come together in one spot. Add in the various national organizations which have shidduch making departments. Add in those shadchanim who charge for their services. Add in representatives from the shidduch groups/shadchanim outside of the New York area. Add in shule rabbis/rebbetzins who actively look for shidduchim for their congregants. Now add in Jewish singles of all types, parents and just plain those who are interested in helping but have never really figured out how.

Now add in a series of side rooms where various workshops would be available on different areas of the shidduch process. Imagine a workshop for parents new to the process, and one for parents who are "old" to the process and getting discouraged. Imagine a workshop where a trained specialist lays out what's real and what is not when you are looking for a mate. Imagine financial specialists who give workshops on the costs of being Jewish and being married. Imagine "networking" sessions where singles, parents and shadchanim could make useful contacts. Imagine side rooms for various "meet and greet" programs for those who are not opposed to them. Hey, imagine any thing your mind can come up with that you think might be helpful to those looking for shidduchim. (Hmm, we might even include a small chapel on the side for "instant" weddings--if you can have speed dating then why not speed marriages?)

If we are going to treat shidduchim as a "business" then we ought to be doing so in a more organized fashion. Put all the "vendors" in one large area and let them meet. Put them together and let them see what is out there "for sale." Let prospective "clients" see all the possible "service companies" that are available and make their choices accordingly. Educate "consumers" on what is realistic to expect.

Get all those "bright" computer people Klal has who manage to find time to play games online to invest some of their energy in creating a centralized shidduch database, so singles don't have to contact 50 different people and repeat the same information fifty times.

Yup, it would take money. There are now two separate groups who are paying shadchanim bonuses for making certain types of shidduchim. Why not take that money and do something on a grander scale, with perhaps more of a chance to do some good? What we have in place now doesn't work awfully well, nor does it work efficiently. And yes, I know, it would require a lot of cooperation on the part of groups that aren't known for cooperating well. Get over it, I say. Getting our singles married takes precedent over perceived past slights or ideological differences. Either we learn to pull together or we are going to see ourselves blow apart.

Kind of radical? Maybe. But if you are going to treat shidduch making as a business undertaking, something we seem to be doing now, then at least let's make it a "profitable" undertaking. You can't treat the children of Klal as "schoira," as merchandise, and forget about marketing.


bad4shidduchim said...

Good Lord! Centralized shidduchim! I have to let that idea ferment a bit in the brain. But isn't it a bit too much cattle-market-y?

ProfK said...


Yup, I suppose cattle market could describe it, but isn't it already that way in many ways? One of my daughters was on the West Side for a Shabbos and walked out of shule after davening. All the guys lined up to see all the girls coming out. She commented "Why didn't they just ask to see my teeth and be done with it?" If you think that you have horses for sale, then at least sell them "upscale."

Or maybe this is a plea for people to finally see that they are making shidduchim in such a way that this idea is not all that radical.

havingAGr8life said...

They had something along those lines (but without all the extras) in Lakewood sometime last year. There were lots of shadchanim that the girls filed around and met with.
Personally, it sounded horribly intimidating and impersonal, but they got lots of great feedback.

justlooking said...

Anyone else notice something in the comment by havingagr*life. She said that the girls filed around and met the shadchanim. So the girls got to give great feedback. They're only half of a shidduch. Unless the guys would agree to also come and meet the shadchanim and become part of a database the Expo idea wouldnt work.

Didn't profk once post something about this where she said that she won't take a girl if the parents don't also give the information on their sons? (sorry but there is a lot on this blog and I don't remember exactly the post) Maybe that would have to be part of the expo, that parents have to register sons and daughters.

I think I'd feel more strange in a room with only 100 people then I would in a room with thousands of people.

anonymously said...

"Jewish Shidduch InfoQuest 2008."

Has it really come to this? I know this is supposed to just be about brain storming to get new ideas, but has it really come to this? Or maybe this is just what we need. Either it will really work wellso singles will be the winners or it won't work at all and because of the public nature of the thing we will be forced to stop buying and selling and find a better way.

Anonymous said...

This works for me. One day and all the shadchanim in one place and they won't be able to say call back tomorrow I can't talk to you right now. Maybe I could do something else every night instead of trying to reach a shadchan.

lea said...

A mixed singles event? Which group of rabbis are you going to convince of this? I can see them requiring two different expos, one for men and one for women.And I bet the mens expo would have less men there then the women would have. If you're brave enough to tackle the rabbis, I'll come down.

Anonymous said...

If we are going to bring shidduch making into the 21st century then how about this. A new television show--Survivor: The great shidduch race. You start with six couples who dont know each other and they only have six dates to get under a chupah or they are voted out by the others. Or maybe we could have a show for those boys who are stalling joining the adult world by hiding out in yeshivah. We could call it American Idle.