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So You Want To Be a Shadchan?

Michal Eisikowitz

The shidduch crisis is painfully unfolding each day — and individuals with a conscience feel compelled to get involved. But will a well-meaning amateur wreck a shidduch before it’s even begun? What newbie matchmakers should know before attempting to split the sea.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Miriam was thrilled. A mother of seven and a skilled graphic artist, she’d just redt a shidduch in which the couple went out twice — and reported having a very nice time. But right after saying how pleasant the date had been, the boy threw Miriam for a loop, informing her that he wanted out. “I kept repeating, ‘But if you liked her, and you had a good time, what’s bothering you?’ ” recalls Miriam. “I felt I should try to find out — help him work it through.” After several unpleasant minutes of wrangling, the boy finally disclosed that he wanted a different personality type — but wouldn’t specify which kind. Miriam surrendered. Then she had the unenviable task of conveying to the (shocked!) other side that he didn’t want to continue, without being able to give a concrete reason. “Painful as it is to hear a no, I think people want some understanding,” she says. “I kept thinking: how would a professional shadchan have sorted this out? And how could I ever set this boy up again?” Being a shadchan is anything but straightforward — it’s a complex job requiring deft maneuvers. How can inexperienced marriage brokers know what to do? When do they gloss over the truth, and when do they tell it as it is? When do they push, and when do they respect people’s decisions and step out? Family First spoke to both professional and amateur shadchanim to gather insights — and hear the lessons they’ve learned the hard way.

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