Dear Rabbi and shira
In response to “flawed Flatbush” and “flooded in Flatbush” , I would like to share my story . I am a mother with 4 sons and 2 daughters. The boys were super easy to marry off and I would say of average intelligence and average in looks . My daughters who are also average have been in the shidduch system for many years. The experience for my girls has been completely the opposite of what is was like for my boys and is very frustrating . In order to get a shadchan’s attention, I literally have to call them daily and beg. It is a completely humiliating and degrading experience and most of the time the phone is silent. Then if the Shadchan finally finds someone she feels is suitable, she wants us to drop everything and meet the guy ASAP which completely devalues my daughters. We shouldn’t feel that we are at the shadchans beck and call but unfortunately this is the way the system is set up and if we say we need time to think about it and research, the shadchan is usually onto the next girl. A guy however can take as long as he wants to think about it and do research. Shadchans need to know they are not helping the situation by making girls feel more desperate than they already feel. The shidduch system has ruined my daughter’s confidence and honestly mine as well.
Fed up in Flatbush!
Dear Fed Up,
We’re sorry that you are having such a hard time.
On one hand, if you are speaking with Shadchanim who deal with a lot of people, it’s crucial to stay on their radar. In any networking situation, connections are made in real time, “when you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind.”
At the same time, remember that the shachanim work for you! If you don’t like their “service” don’t utilize them. If you feel they are too pushy, let them know, and if it doesn’t change, speak to someone else! When a shadchan wants you to drop everything because a guy is available, you can express to them your feelings and help change the culture. If they don’t return your calls, find someone who will.
One does not attend a training course to become a certified shadchan, they did not receive an appointment from any communal board, nor the state of New York. Anyone can set someone up. While they might know more people and have more experience, they are not your only method of finding a spouse for your children.
You are not powerless, nor are you or your girls desperate. Speak to your friends and network with them, regarding your single children. Ask your married children if any of their in-laws, (or the in-laws of their in-laws) have children who would be appropriate. Maybe they know someone. Review the different singles activities in your neighborhood and see if they are catering to your needs.
Your (and your daughters) self-worth does not depend on whether shadchanim call, or at what point they get married. Our focus in life is to be Oved Hashem with the life circumstances we have, not the lives that we wish we had. Daven for your daughters’ Zivugim, encourage her to do so as well. Advise them to fill their time with meaningful self-constructive activities, not waiting around for the phone to ring.
We know that this is a difficult time. The Gemara already expressed that it’s as difficult as splitting the sea to find a shidduch. There is uncertainty, and no sure-fire answers to success. We have to try our best, daven and in the meanwhile embrace life as it comes.
We wish you much Hatzlacha,
Rabbi Reuven and Shira Boshnack