Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Show me the Money

There is a posting up on Orthonomics talking about whether or not shadchanim should have to wait for their money until a shidduch is made or should they be paid an "hourly wage" prior to this such as other "professionals are paid.

Okay, may be just a little while since I've been officially active in shidduchim, but I think this idea is a poor one for a whole bunch of reasons. And I've got some questions for you, the readers, that should illustrate my reasons.

1. Was your marriage redt or the marriage of your children by someone who gave you an actual money figure when you first contacted him/her as to what you would have to pay if a shidduch was made? Did the shadchan explain why the sum was what it was? Did you think the sum was reasonable?

2. Was the person who redt your shidduch or that of your children a professional shadchan or a "talented" amateur with altruistic leanings and no fee?

3. If someone redt your shidduch or the shidduch of your children and did NOT name a sum or mention money when the process started out, did you nonetheless give them money or an item as a gift once the shidduch was made?

4. If yes to #3, how did you decide how much to give or how much to spend on a gift? What type of gift did you buy?

5. Was your shidduch or a shidduch for your child made by a shidduch group that takes no money but does suggest/request that you donate money to tzedaka, particularly a tzedaka that facilitiates weddings? Did you feel that this was a reasonable request?

6. Did your shidduch or a shidduch for your child come about because a friend or relative fixed you up and it worked, with very little involvement on the part of the person doing the fixing up? Did you offer money or a gift to this person after the shidduch was made?

7. Was your shidduch or a shidduch for your child as the result of you or your child meeting your/their spouse on your/their own?

I'd really like to hear from my readers how it was that they found themselves engaged and married. So much is being said about "professional shadchanim"--those for whom shadchanus is a business occupation. A lot of people talk about shadchanim that charge a set fee. Are there really so many of these people out there? Are they making the majority of the shidduchim being made today? Is money being required or is it something that people are offering on their own?

19 comments:

Lion of Zion said...

i met my wife in the kosher cafeteria at brooklyn college. (the only good thing i ever got there.) we know a lot of people who met there. we all saved on the shadchan fees (and the headache).

efrex said...

Contemporary shadchunus is one of those things that's just completely out of my realm of comprehension. It's one thing when you have a very tight insular community, where the communal shadchan really knows the families of the children he/she is setting up, but I weep at the thought of people relying on professional matchmakers who use the abominations known as shidduch resumes (I can honestly say that one my most life-altering moments was receiving one of these things from a friend's father, and wanting to tear k'riah when I read it).

The Lovely Wife(tm) and I met through mutual friends, none of whom thought to set us up on their own. We socialized informally for a few months before we realized that we were actually dating each other (okay, she figured that out well before I did, but that's another story), and eventually I got enough of a clue to not let her go. B"H, nine years later, we're still making each other crazy.

Rochel said...

A relative (no one remembers just which one since they all knew him) introduced my husband and me at a cousin's bar mitzvah. We contacted a semi professional shadchan, a lady in the neighborhood who does shidduchim but takes "only" $500 if a shidduch works out, for our kids. She didn't make any of their shidduchim. One married his roommate from Israel's sister--a gift of seforim to roommate. Our neighbors introduced one daughter to their nephew--gift of a piece of silver to them. Other daughter was set up by parents of a student she was tutoring. Parents there told us please no gift but give tzedaka to the school where their child was a student, no amount mentioned.

D said...

My sister in law and my husband's sister were friends and set us up. No money was mentioned, no gift changed hands. We said thank you in a most heartfelt and appreciative way.
That being said, my son was set up by a professional shadchan who happens to "work" with lots of young men in his yeshiva. No money was mentioned, and after the engagement, we asked around as to what was customary and gave a monetary gift. My daughter was set up by her brother (with the "go between" help of another young gentleman not as close to the people involved) with a friend of his. I bought my son what I thought was a very nice gift, but I probably would have bought him that particular set of seforim anyway because he has no income :-) My machutonim in that shidduch gave a monetary gift to the other go between, after consulting with us.
In no case was money ever mentioned first, nor was a particular sum ever mentioned. When we tried to find out the "customary" amounts we were repeatedly told, it's just a token of gratitude, whatever you want is fine.
The customary amount that I finally got out of people was very large and daunting and I had known this was "customary" initially who knows what would have happened.
what a racket.

Kalman said...

Someone from our shul who had seen me around there but wasn't really a close friend of my parents introduced me to my wife. My parents asked what they would like as a gift. They were told that the gift should be the same amount that we had spent on the bracelet I gave to my kallah when I asked her to marry me. We were all laughing at that. My kallah didn't get a bracelet when I asked her.

My parents were kind of miffed that they would first bring up money after it was already a shidduch. That person told the same thing to my kallah's parents. In the end both sets of parents bought a piece of crystal or china, I forget which, together. The shadchan was kind of pissed but what did they really want when all they did was pass along a name and number to me? They weren't involved more than that.

I'm praying that my own kids will save me from all of this and meet their basherts in school or somehow on their own. This shadchan business is a real rip off.

Anonymous said...

I went to a family sincha oot. A friend of my aunt's introduced me that Shabbos to a boy. We weren't really a match but he thought his brother was perfect for me and he was. When my mom asked if there was something this lady wanted she said please no gifts just give tzedaka whatever you want and she named a particular tzedaka she was involved with.

My parents didn't use a paid shadchan for any of my siblings either. They were introduced by: a relative, two by friends their own age who had dated the people and thought it would be perfect for my siblings, one by her boss's wife. My parents gave all these people nice gifts to say thank you but not expensive ones.

JS said...

Met my wife in college. Both of us were members of the same Orthodox group. My parents met through a Jewish club in Brooklyn college. My wife's parents met in the mountains.

My brother in law met his wife after a friend of his went on a date with her and he thought they would be perfect for each other - they were. They thanked him publicly at the various simchas and gave him a nice, but not expensive, watch as a token of gratitude. He never asked for anything.

Other siblings and siblings in law go on dates based on friends' suggestions mostly - ie a friend of a friend or a friend saying "I have just the person for you."

My sister in law put together a shidduch resume so she could be formally redt to people through shadchanim. The resume was just ridiculous and made her look so generic and boring - a shell of herself. The problem with the resume is that you try to emphasize all the wrong things and play down all the right things. For example, you play up where you want to seminary and what Jewish groups you are involved in and who your rabbi is, etc - all the things that make you just like everyone else. Meanwhile you ignore anything that is what you're really like - strong personality, passionate, adventurous, etc because it makes you "inappropriate." Also, these formal shadchans don't know you from a hole in the wall. My sister in law has pretty much given up on that avenue, she's had more success from friends' suggestions. Nonetheless, when she gets frustrated, she goes back to the resume and the shadchan. I don't know what money they have asked for if successful, but I'm sure it's not cheap.

Anonymous said...

I met my husband in high school -- yes, a public coed high school, but it was helped along by our older sisters who were friends. Hubby's sister told him to keep an eye out for me and my sister told me to keep an eye out for him. We never paid our sisters . . .

Chana said...

I met through a Shadchen, my mothers friend, who knew what my, and my husbands family were looking for, and suggested the Shiduch. I think the idea of requiring people to pay a shadchen is a bad one, as it will result in (1)a greater reluctance to meet again (2)much more pressure and suggestions from shadchonim with ulterior motives (3)making friends who would like to suggest a Shiduch feel uncomfortable doing so.OTOH perhaps (1) is a good reason for requiring money as it would weed out dates that aren't going anywhere, anyhow.

On another note I have a brother who met a girl, accidentally, in an informal situation, request that he consider her for a shiduch.He considered it, but being super Yeshivshe he turned her down,because he felt that his relationship with her would always be affected by the fact he met her 'on the street' and she then asked him to go out with her (i.e. he felt that his goal of building a house of Torah & Yiras Shmyim etc. would be tainted by the manner he met)Please respect his feelings.

tesyaa said...

I knew dozens of couples who met through NCSY, at college cafeterias, as camp counselors. Most of my friends weren't "set up".

Tovah said...

My grandmother was my shadchan along with three of her friends in Florida. They put together grandchildren lists and niece and nephew lists and paired up who they thought was most likely to fit. Five of their possibili8ties got married. You could also say my grandmother was the source for my sisters getting married, since she started the line with me. My husband's mother was the shadchan for my next oldest sister. That sister's bil was the shadchan for my next sister.

The youngest in our family is a boy and he swears he is never going to a family simcha again on any side because everybody has a girl for him. He should be so lucky that it happens for him this way.

Mystery Woman said...

I get phone calls for my kid from both shadchanim who charge a fee and from amateurs. Noone ever tells me their fee upfront. And if an amateur or a friend end up making the shidduch, I will give them whatever the "going rate" is.
I have no objection to shadchanim who have a fee. They deserve it. BUT I do stay away from those that I know charge a very high fee. And the hourly wage....I'd stay away from those, too.

Aliza said...

A community shidduch group made my shidduch but I don't really consider them as shadchanim since at least half of them had watched me grow up and were friends of my parents. They didn't take any money but did suggest a donation to one of the hachnosas kallah funds. One of my brother's friends is the one who introduced him to his wife--no fee. My next brother is more to the right then the rest of us and his rebbi pushed that my parents use a "real" shadchan. The one he suggested to them charges $5000 if a shidduch is made and expects 20% up front, shidduch or no shidduch, for his time and expenses. Should of seen my parents faces! They said no thank you and basically told the rebbe that they weren't selling my brother and didn't need a broker with such high fees and no guaranteed results. So at this point most of the suggestions for him are now coming from friends and people from shul. His rebbi thinks we are wrong because the quality of girl that my brother should have won't be found hit or miss this way. My dad's reaction, edited for print is that if the rebbe thinks this way let HIM put up the money.

Trudy said...

My siblings and I all met our spouses the old fashioned way--at college or collegiate functions, or at hotels in the Catskills or through a fix up by a friend. My kids all met their spouses through either friends or family members. One of my sisters has a couple of really frummy kids who won't go this route. They want a shadchan only. Only one shadchan was open up front about what she charges. A whole lot more of the others kind of said we'll talk money when there is a shidduch. My sister told these people that no way was she going into this blind without knowing up front what the charges would be. When pushed a few of these people quoted figures in the $2500 to $5000 range. One really stood out because she said that the payment would be $8K to 10K depending on who the shidduch was with--and that's from both sides!

Anonymous said...

Trudy, that last figure is just outrageous. So this person would get $16 to 20K for one shidduch?!!! So not my experience that any of these paid shadchanim do anything timewise or otherwise that justifies that amount of money. Make it $5K from both sides and they still are making out like bandits. Even at $2K from each side they are making more then they are worth. You think these people are working 40 hours a week on your behalf? Or even 5-10? Think again.

It's a laugh that they call themselves professional shadchanim. What profession? They take degrees in this? They have any real training? They prey on the insecurities of lots of people in frum circles who are worried that their kids won't find a shidduch or the right shidduch. Nothing but a bunch of snakeoil salesmen. If they happen to make some shidduchim occasionally that's no more then many other people who aren't calling themselves professionals do.

If professional shadchans are our answer to the shidduch crisis we are in a hell of a lot of trouble.

Rivi said...

And just where are people supposed to take this money to pay a shadchan from? I'm just about making it paying yeshiva tuitions nevermind just plain living expenses. I can't think of anything other then our house and the kids tuitions that I paid over $5k for. I'm not going to start being a spendthrift with shadchan money.

My sister introduced me to my spouse. She knew her husband's sister from camp days and that's how her shidduch got made. Way past time to go back to the way things were when I was dating and forget all this craziness with gambling on a shadchan.

profk_offsping said...

The one time I remember my mom using a "semi-pro" shadchan (I don't know if she'll remember it as it was a very long time ago), she demanded some money up front. We gave it to her and I don't recall ever getting a single date out of it. I'm sorry the money was ever spent. As for paying up front nowadays--not a chance. I'm having enough trouble budgeting for the costly singles events that, frankly, don't measure up to the expenditure and am reconsidering those as well. Being single when you're older is a lot more expensive than people think.

Orthonomics said...

We were set up by a Rebbitzen in the local community. She didn't ask for a fee, and when we asked about giving a gift they didn't want paid, they only wanted the mitzvah. I think in smaller communities, Rabbis and Rebbitzens see making shidduchim as part of their job. I regularly speak with people active in shidduchim from "out of town" areas and there is not an expectation for pay. The more NY and Lakewood oriented, the more "shadchanus fee" comes up.

sporadicintelligence said...

My husband and I were set-up by an ametuer professional shadchan (if that's possible) who didn't know either of us from adam. She asked for nothing, but my parents presented her with a small gift and "the going rate"