Sunday, June 20, 2010

Those Shidduch Questionnaires

On a different posting a commenter asked about what was on the shidduch questionnaires that are common today. Many of the groups that use a questionnaire do not post a copy of that questionnaire online; a few will make the questionnaire available online only once you have registered with the site. Most community shidduch groups don't post copies of their questionnaires. Individual shadchanim don't post a copy of the questionnaires they use. However, there are some questionnaires available for viewing at the links below, which I am posting as a public service and for informational purposes.

Thanks to Rena for giving this link in her comment--take the time and scroll the pages and pages of the questionnaire if you want to know why people are complaining about how "in depth" and frankly ridiculous these questionnaires are:


HZ said...

Besides for the sixty-one question one (are they going for an eHarmony type thing?) these all seem very reasonable. You're finding a lifelong spouse—you should have at least as many questions as are on a college application.

Anonymous said...

Sure wish you could haver posted some of those questionnaires from the regular shadchanim and shidduch groups. A lot of them are more like the first one you link to then to the others. One of the ones I got had on it a question that asked What do you dream about? Other then getting married were they serious that this question has some connection to their setting me up on a date?!!!

Juggling Frogs said...

Please note that the form linked here for Young Israel of Brookline's Shidduch Committee is the actual form we used to use, however we switched to the SawYouAtSinai site about four years ago.

We now encourage applicants to sign up for SYAS and enter their data there, adding us as their shadcan that way, rather than filling out this form.

I've personally retyped the data from over 250 of those forms, including every word of the extra pages of information and/or explanation shidduch candidates often include. It became too difficult and inefficient to keep the data up-to-date this way.

Ours is free service, operated entirely by volunteers from our shul and other local communities.

ProfK said...

Thanks Juggling Frog for the update. Just a suggestion--perhaps you should be taking down the site that has the questionnaire that is no longer used. Could avoid some confusion, or even links like the one in this posting.

Juggling Frogs said...

ProfK, I agree.

The form was left up because some people do still send it in. Yet, when asked, we encourage SYAS as the preferred method.

Adina said...

The questionnaires you link to are pretty normal when asking about hashkafah, except maybe the first one. But one local shidduch group has a section for picking your hashkafah that has over 20 choices and still offers other as the last choice. Hashkafah on what?! Do I use the internet? yes. Do I go to movies? no. Do I watch selected dvds? yes. Do I wear pants? no. Do I wear all black? no. Am I bais yaakov? No, but just what the hey does that really mean? I'd be willing to bet you that there are shidduchim not red for me because of that hashkafah section--I answered other just because I couldn't figure out how else to answer.

SubWife said...

OMG! The first one is totally out of control. They better guarantee real result within 24 hours. it's so frustrating that people who are in charge of these things feel they can invade one's privacy because there's a remote chance they might have someone. (That chance will become even more remote because no one will match up on all 62 points!) They should be ashamed of this questionnaire. The other ones seem reasonable.

Lion of Zion said...

i couldn't get the first one to load.
i don't think any of them are completely reasonable. what is the hangup with BTs? and why do they need a detailed list of siblings or who the *mechutanim* are?! or whether a person was widowed from accident, illness or "sudden"? or if divorced parents are remarried? (why does it even matter to begin with if they are divorced?)
i also note most had some type of question about hair covering. is this really was one's commitment to yiddishkeit comes down to? (if tzniut is really that central, how about asking if they plan to dress like a hot channy.) and only one asks about smoking preferences? i also don't understand the distinction between MO and MO machmir, yet yeshivish is monolithic? and i also suspect from the way the 5 towns page is set up that they might only match those who went to israel with others who went to israel. (although i give 5t an extra point for caring about non-orthodox singles).

i actually like kol simcha the best (although it too had stupid questions) because it did focus in part with good questions about the future (what are your short term/long term plans). also interesting that it asked about community involvement

i was also not aware (as per darchei noam form) that halachically one must pay the shadchan

interesting that some asked for pics (one with a date), others didn't

but the one i couldn't stop laughing about is the pull down menu on the 5 towns form for body type.

Lion of Zion said...

and i don't understand how the 5t form works. they ask what your body type is but not what you are willing to date. so if you self identify as having "a few extra pounds," will they only set you up with others who have a "few extra pounds"? (and what does that mean? maybe they should ask for BMI and only set up people within 5% range of the same BMI)

SubWife said...

Wow, how did I miss all of that? i guess i didn't look very carefully beyond the first one. After reading 62 questions, I lost my attention span, LOL.

Avi said...

Some of these questions are just plain nuts. What's worse is that it isn't a guy or girl who is going to be seeing the answers, it's only the shadchan. So the shadchan is only going to be giving some of this info over to the other person.

Besides, isn't a lot of what is being asked stuff that should be talked about on a date? If the questionnaire has all this info what's left to be talked about on the date? Me personally I couldn't go through this. So glad I didn't have to.

efrex said...

Some of these questions go beyond the ridiculous and into the outright forbidden. Where is the heter to ask a BT how long he/she has been frum or a ger when he/she converted? Anybody not willing to date a ger or a BT is violating halacha and Orthodox shadchanim should not be facilitating this. There's only one significant issue at hand (permissibility of marrying a kohen), and kudos to the one profile that handles it somewhat sensitively ("would you want to be set up with a kohen?" - not ideally phrased, but at least gives the woman some privacy).

Trudy said...

Not sure just how sensitively that question is phrased efrex. Think about it. What possible other reasons could there be for not 'wanting' to marry a Cohen? They get too many kibudim in shul? They're called on to bentsch first? Okay, they substitute want for can but the end result is the same and anyone reading the answer is going to substitute a different reason for anything the applicant puts down.

That first questionaire is unbelievable. By the time someone finishes filling it out they could have been married with three kids already.

efrex said...

Trudy: It could have been asked better, but, at least in Orthodox circles, it's one of the few uncomfortable questions that a shadchan does legitimately need to ask. Assuming that these questionnaires are kept by the shadchanim with some degree of confidentiality and not directly shared with every potential shidduch, it does serve its purpose.

I find the whole exercise ludicrous simply because most people I know do not know themselves well enough to define "must-have" qualities in a potential spouse. The dating process itself helps to clarify priorities, and of course, marriage itself causes massive sea changes to those same priorities. Defining rigid characterizations (and please don't get me started on the new "left-wing MO/ right wing MO/ yeshivish/ centrist" labeling system) results in marriage becoming a prize to be grabbed, not a lifelong sacred obligation to undertake.

JS said...

This is really sad.

Reminds me of a shidduch group meeting my wife and I attended in order to support friends of ours who were starting the group. This was a huge mistake since my wife and I are LWMO and the shidduch group meeting attracted a distinctly more RW crowd. After introductions, the meeting turned to what the focus of the group would be. Immediately people began asking what type of questionnaire would be used and what we should be asking. It went something like this:

Mr. A: Well, we need to make sure we have enough categories of Orthodoxy. It's not enough to have just Modern or Yeshivish.

Mrs. A: Yes, we need LW machmir and RW Yeshivish and such.

Mrs. B: And we need to ask who their rav is, of course, in addition to where they went to yeshiva in Israel.

Mr. C: And what are their thoughts on TV? Some say they don't want TV, but watch TV and movies on the Internet.

Mr. D: Well, we should obviously ask about Internet as well. But also, how often do they learn and maybe a question about whether they enjoy learning as well.

Me: Umm, I think these are all great ideas, but maybe we could ask about hobbies, favorite books, what a person likes to do in their free time. Maybe how they would describe their personality?

My Wife: Yes, maybe something like 5 interesting facts about you that aren't about hashkafa.

Rest of the room: Blank stares.

Long, awkward pause...

Mr. D: So, ummm, yeah, how about a question about how many dates they think is appropriate before engagement?

Lion of Zion said...


my wife's friends (who are a bit more to the right than we are) sometimes call to discuss shidduch matters. i walk out of the room lest i shoot myself.

i understand they are trying to help, but sometimes i wonder if this type of help utimately does more harm than good

efrex said...

LoZ: B"H, I've only had to directly deal with shidduch insanity twice. I've written elsewhere about my reaction to a friend's "shidduch resume." The other time came from someone asking about a classmate of mine who asked why his Yeshiva in Israel was one of the "lesser quality" ones. Considering that he was now in his early 30s and more than 15 years removed from that Yeshiva, I very quietly informed the questioner that she was absolutely out of her mind and had no business trying to arrange shidduchim.

SaraK said...

That 1st one is ridiculous. Some of the questions are nice conversation topics for dates, but why in the world would a shadchan want that much info, just to set people up?


Newsflash! No one else could have been brought up with the same Torah values as another person unless they lived in the same house and had the same life experiences. Totally nonsensical question.

JS said...


Completely agree with these ridiculous resumes. I think the goal is make yourself look at plain vanilla as possible so as to not raise any red flags. You want the shadcan and the person to whom you're being redt to think "nothing out of the ordinary here, maybe this person is worth a date."

So, you never mention if anyone in your immediate family is less than 110% frum. Likewise, discussing how you became more observant is bad. You don't want to go on about hobbies or interests because then the person may think you only want someone who likes the same things. Or, worse, you may not be totally devoted to marriage and kids if you have outside interests. Or maybe outside interests may impugn on how truly important Torah is in life.

Writing a shidduch resume means looking at everything that is unique and different about you and being horribly embarrassed about them.

JS said...

Oh, and a question:

Since when do Modern Orthodox people use shadchanim? I don't understand this at all. Does the "modern" in Modern Orthodox have a different definition than the one in the dictionary? Many of the organizations listed on the post are MO. Aren't MO boys and girl allowed to mix and socialize? Why are they relying on a tradition that stems from a religious culture where boys and girls were separated from one and another?

I will never understand this. I will also never understand those who live on the upper west side or in washington heights who tell me how difficult it is to meet someone and how a shadchan is really necessary and the only way to get a date. Every guy or girl living there has at any given moment probably 50 or more frum members of the opposite sex within 50 feet of them.

Masha said...

Sorry but I just don't see how a few words put onto paper are supposed to fully represent a person for marriage purposes.And some of what is being asked about is really strange and I don't see the connection to marriage and a person's ability to be a good spouse. Could we please go back to some type of normal in shidduch making and just let the kids meet each other without all this quackery and fakery that pretends to get the important info?

ProfK said...

You're right that once upon a time the MO, whatever that is, did not use shadchanim and questionnaires. Back in my day, as I have reported before, the National Council of Young Israel had the YI Collegiates and they sponsored mixed social gatherings all over the city. They held a major Shabbos at one of the Catskills hotels every summer. I wish this group and the OU would remember just why they came into existence and get back with the program that worked. And yeah, let's not leave out that YU also sponsored chagigot during the school year and they were mixed affairs where socialization was encouraged. But then, the Rav was head of the place back then and he obviously had a clearer vision than is around today.

Lion of Zion said...


i only dealt with it once. a friend gave me as a reference (not sure why). the mother called me up and kept me on the phone for 45 minutes with silly questions. she was apparenrly particularly concerned because he lived on the west side and she kept on coming back to this. he happens to be one of the nicest guys i know (e.g., he would get up an hour earlier every morning to drive his mother to work), but she didn't want to hear this. she wanted to know about his life on the west side and why he moved there. i explained that he's not a party animal, but he's from OOT and he moved to NY to find a girl and the west side offered the most prospects. she didn't get it. finally i said her, "listen lady, you don't have to worry. he's a good guy and he doesn't sleep around. that really wasn't on his mind when he moved to the west side."