Oorah’s Rebbetzins offer priceless help at a crucial crossroad. “Getting to the Bottom of a Disastrous Date” is the stimulating title of this month’s online discussion presented by the Rebbetzins Program, this Wednesday evening, February 16th at 8:00 PM EST
Join Mrs. Hilary Kahn as she gives practical advice for the dating single. Click link to register for the event www.rebbetzins.org/emails/projectsinai3.asp
WHO ARE THE REBBETZINS?
In a simple game of word association, the word “Rebbetzin” conjures up an image of a perpetually smiling woman who is as adept at matchmaking, organizing, and doling out words of wisdom as she is at whipping up a double batch of piping hot potato kugel. Whether behind the scenes or front and center, she is a driving force in her community.
MEET OORAH’S REBBETZINS
Oorah’s Rebbetzins are not far off from that iconic image, but their wisdom and life experience are focused on a singular task — marrying off their “children.” Specifically, their “children” are young people who have grown spiritually, become observant, and have integrated themselves into the Orthodox community. In that context, they wish to employ the more traditional way of Jewish dating…but how?
The Rebbetzins are qualified, carefully selected people who are extremely sensitive to a single’s specific needs. One of the criteria of becoming a Rebbetzin is being able to be completely devoted to walking the single through every stage of the shidduch process, from the initial setup straight through to the chuppah. Our Rebbetzins are like surrogate mothers.
Indeed, the tagline of this innovative program, is “Taking on Shidduchim as a Parent Would.” Each Rebbetzin relates to her single as if he or she is the only one she is assisting. They forge a relationship that is very personal and familiar, to the overall benefit of both parties. The Rebbetzin is thus able to gain a deeper understanding of what the single really needs in a spouse, and the single receives the immeasurable benefit of having his or her needs understood.
Why does traditional Jewish dating require a third party? Most people are acquainted with the stereotypical character of the matchmaker, who is portrayed as somewhat of a busybody to whom every available man or woman represents a possible match. In the real world of Jewish dating, however, the matchmaking only works effectively when parents, teachers or other involved parties are willing to “check out” the matchmaker’s suggestions, calling references and making an effort to ensure that the other party is actually an appropriate suggestion. It’s a time consuming yet vital step in the process.
“I’ve been dating for two years,” says Dana S., a twenty-three-year-old in Brooklyn. “I live in New York, which is great if you’re properly networked. But I’m from out of town, and unless I know someone specific, it’s really hard to have any one person advocating for me. When I have my Rebbetzin making those calls and verifying all that information, I can’t explain how much pressure is taken off my mind. It’s the absolute best way to date.”
“Our shidduch-dating process is a tried and true solution which has practical relevance in today’s world,” acknowledges Rabbi Yehoshua Weinstein, Oorah’s Director of Kiruv Development. “Once people become aware of it, they are often eager to take advantage of all its benefits. It protects the single’s privacy, it promotes marriage-minded dating and offers the best chance of investing the single person’s time and effort in people who are appropriate for him or her. But it takes some experience and knowledge to use this system effectively.”
The Rebbetzins provides that knowledgeable, skilled guidance. Here’s how it works: An unmarried individual between the ages of 18-30, is paired with a Rebbetzin who lives close by. This automatically establishes common ground upon which their relationship can blossom. The two can get together and get to know each other in an informal setting; for example, over a Shabbos meal. The Rebbetzin gets to learn what her single is looking for in a potential mate, and is then able to make appropriate suggestions, cutting out much time, effort and aggravation.
The system of goal-oriented dating with marriage in mind is old, yet new, because it’s based on the traditional shidduch-dating system, with an added twist. Dating is a trying process in the best of cases, and coupled with that fact is the lack of community resources and representation for singles at this juncture. All this is happily avoided when a Rebbetzin is on top of the situation, checking references, speaking to the relevant people, and being the middleman in general. It benefits everyone involved because that heavy burden is removed from the singles’ shoulders, allowing them peace of mind.
The program avails itself to anyone who is a Baal Teshuva or a child of a Baal Teshuva. We recognize the importance of having someone available for all these singles on a mothering capacity, and we strive to wholly support them.
THE RIGHT WOMEN FOR THE JOB
What kind of person becomes a Rebbetzin? One of the essential qualities of a Rebbetzin is her integrity. She is in a position to hear a great deal of personal information, and all of it must be kept in the strictest confidence.
The Rebbetzins website, www.rebbetzins.org, is a convenient way to explore the inner workings of our program. But all the personal information contained within the files are kept only within the Rebbetzins network. The only people who have access to any information on the application are the coordinators within the program itself. The Rebbetzins are not only searching within their own database, but they also cross-reference any appropriate matches that might come up elsewhere. All this is done with unparalleled sensitivity and caring. Parents are impressed with the fact their child is not just another name, but a person to be cared for and guided into a healthy, appropriate marriage.”
IT’S NOT JUST MATCHMAKING
The relationship of the Rebbetzin and her single goes above and beyond simple reference checks.
The Rebbetzin doesn’t just inquire about prospective partners, she is there, walking beside her single, every step of the way. Having someone to lean on during the dating process makes the journey all the more positive. The relationships fostered through the Rebbetzins program is one that is sure to endure long after the singles are settled with their own families.