Matchmaker, Matchmaker

When it comes to Orthodox Jews, you may think that the dating (shidduch) process is just like Fiddler on the Roof. Well, let’s just clear some of that up. First, I’ll just say that yes, I am a single frum girl who is hoping to get married in the near future. I’m not even going to pretend to know everything about the shidduch process, and I’m not going to give everyone the golden key into my personal life. But a lot of my friends have asked me about what “frum dating” is like, so I figure why not do a little something just to get it out there. I will say that there are different ways that religious Jews go about finding their bashert (soul mate), but for the purposes of this blog, I’ll just touch on the process that I’m a part of. In addition, the info in this blog is based solely on my experiences and should not be taken as a guide to Jewish dating according to Jewish law.

You may have noticed that I’ve never even made mention of dating in the past two years of blogging. That’s because I, like many other religious Jews, believe that this process is very personal and shouldn’t be/doesn’t need to be shared with everyone and their mother (and their bubbie, zayde, and the whole JCC). So to address a few of the buzzing thoughts I’m sure some of you are having: 1) Yes, we use a matchmaker, called a shadchan. This person is the go-between for the couple in the first part of their dating relationship. It makes it a lot less awkward if you want to stop going out with a person after one or two dates. All you have to do is talk to the shadchan, and they can tell the other person. A lot of feelings are spared this way.

2) No, we don’t even hold hands until we are married. This may sound crazy to some of you, and it is definitely the most common question that people ask me. I also thought this was a little weird when I was first told about it. I remember I was on Birthright, and my madricha (counselor) was explaining the shidduch process to me. I was like, “this is the most far-fetched and outrageous idea anyone ever came up with.” I couldn’t believe that people actually followed these guidelines. But it’s true. In my case, I won’t even side-hug my husband until after the chuppah. In fact, I won’t ever have physical contact with any man except certain members of my family. For me, this is one of the most exciting and beautiful concepts that Judaism has to offer. I am personally connected to this idea because I know that mine and my future-hubby’s marriage will be based on a purely emotional and intellectual connection. Our judgements won’t be clouded by a physical relationship.

3) No, I’m probably not going to date my future-hubs for an “at-least-2-years” period of time. It’s pretty common in the Ortho dating world to date for a number of months before getting engaged. The engagement period is fairly short as well. Maybe because once you know you’re going to marry a person, you still have to wait to give them a hug until after your officially married? It’s anyone’s guess. This may seem a little out there, especially if you’re the girl who’s been dating the same person since 6th grade, and I’m not judging ANYONE, but basically when two people start the shidduch process together, it’s because they already have the same values and it seems like they will be a perfect match…on paper. Which brings me to my next point.

4) Yes, I will use a shidduch resume. You would think that a resume would be left for finding a job, but don’t you think finding your soul mate is equally, maybe even more, important? A shidduch resume is just a little bit about your background and religious beliefs written down, so that when a potential match is being looked in to, both parties can see if their beliefs seem to be in line with each other. This makes things a lot less complicated in the long run. It’s not like it’s the week before your wedding and you find out that your future-hubby HATES DOGS, but getting a pooch is non-negotiable for you. No but seriously, important issues like religious beliefs, lifestyles, political orientation are things that we take into consideration before we even meet the other person, so it clears up a lot of problems that may come in the future.

Well, I don’t know if Patti Stanger would approve, but this is a little glimpse into the way that I am hopefully going to meet my future-hubby. For advice or actual halachic information about the shidduch dating process you can read the articles here: http://www.aish.com/d/ or ask your local Orthodox Rabbi (LOR). If not insightful, I hope this was at least a little bit entertaining for those of you who still aren’t quite bought in to the idea. And that’s okay if you aren’t. I’m not asking anyone to change, or suggesting that I’m not going to be your friend if you don’t conduct your life this way. And isn’t that what my blog is all about? It’s just me sharing a few ideas and inspirations that I’ve had on my journey. So here’s hoping that we all find our basherts in the easiest way possible. xoxo, Frum (single) Girl

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