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The Shidduch Academy

Sara Shamansky

“Is your son or daughter in the Parshah? Are you feeling overwhelmed, and unprepared? You need training! Call us for details about our tailor-made curriculum”

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

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CONSEQUENCES “I don’t think you understand the severity of your actions,” said Rebbetzin Greenfeld. “We are an academic institution, not some common matchmaking service. We simply cannot condone this kind of behavior”

"He left me there, sitting by myself in Starbucks.” Chaya sat on the hallway ottoman and pulled off her heels. She rubbed her ankle and let out a muffled moan. “He stood up, said he had to get back for Maariv, and left. Before I had time to realize what was happening, I was sitting by myself, in Shabbos clothes and makeup, in a Starbucks booth. So embarrassing.”

Adina cringed. “Oh, sweetie, why didn’t you call? Tatty would have picked you up.”

“I just wanted to get out of there. Easier to walk home.”

Chaya was shivering. Her Shabbos coat was woolen and elegant, but not very warm. Not like her padded fleece coat, which she would never dream of wearing on a shidduch date.

Adina wanted to kill him. That was her first, visceral, emotion. How could that boy treat her daughter this way? Then she was angry at Mrs. Marcovitz; how could she suggest such a boy? And what about all the references she’d called, who’d raved about him? How did they sleep at night?

But she couldn’t say anything to Chaya,

Chaya would say “Whatever, it’s over.” So instead Adina pasted a big, brave, fake smile on her face and put up some hot chocolate.

Now, when Chaya was hopefully fast asleep, Adina realized that the person she was really upset at wasn’t Adina’s date, the shadchan’te, or the references. It was herself. Why was she letting her daughter down? Why wasn’t she fulfilling her tafkid, as any good Jewish mother would and should, and finding her daughter a suitable husband?

Admittedly, Friday morning wasn’t the best time for sitting down with a coffee, a croissant, and a magazine. “I have to read the ads and the recipes before Shabbos,” was how Adina justified it. She couldn’t logically explain why an ad for a clothing boutique on another continent held such fascination for her as soon as the sun set, but that was the way it was.

Shlomo good-naturedly went along with it, and always stopped off at the bakery and the newsstand on his way home from shul.

Shidduch Academy for Mothers. The ad was a small rectangle, with no illustrations or fancy graphics.

“Is your son or daughter in the Parshah? Are you feeling overwhelmed, and unprepared? You need training! Call us for details about our tailor-made curriculum.”

Adina wrote down the number.

The office looked like something out of a designer catalog. The carpets were pale mauve, the drapes a deep burgundy. Rebbetzin Greenfeld, proprietor of the Shidduch Academy, was seated behind a white-tinted pine desk.

Adina handed her the filled-out application form.

“Matchmaking in the academy would taint the academic purity of the institution. It would ruin genuine camaraderie between students. Shidduchim would destroy us”

“Hmmm, let’s see, age, years married, community, children, ages, years dating… Your daughter has been dating for three years already?!”

Adina nodded.

“And you didn’t have any qualifications, for dealing with your daughter’s shidduchim? You didn’t take any course?”

“I read a book by Rabbi—”

“A book? Here in the Academy, we don’t believe in independent study. Shidduchim is a science, and needs to be treated as such.” Rebbetzin Greenfeld locked her in a gaze. “Three years without the proper training, that’s three years wasted. But what’s done is done. Hopefully we can improve the situation now. And besides, you have other children. At least when it’s their turn you’ll know what you’re doing…”

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