Readers’ Matzav: More On Sefardi Girls and the Shidduch Crisis


shidduchimDear Editor,

You wanted more details about the Sefardi girls shidduch crisis? You got it!

Yesterday, I wrote a letter to about the shidduch crisis regarding Sefardi girls. It was my first time posting on Matzav, and I had no idea how it was going to work out. I noticed that I got many people’s attention on this critical matter, which encourages me to continue in full detail about the whole situation. So here goes.

I live in America. I am Sefardi. There are many different types of Sefardim. Syrian. Iraqi. Moroccan. Persian. Yemenite. We are all different. Just because one is Sefardi Iraqi does not mean that they would click better with a Yemenite just because they are Sefardi too. Let’s get that clear. So the next time you call a Sefardi girl, please don’t say, “I know this great Sefardi guy learning in Lakewood.”

Secondly, when I said I am Sefardi by blood, I meant that I am completely affiliated with the Ashkenazic world. I have their mentality and their culture. If you are frum, then you attend Ashkenazic schools, Ashkenazis shuls, and associate with Ashkenazim, because Sefardim – in America – do not have such a strong organized school system, for the most part. (The exception to this is the Syrian community, which has a very strong system with schools and shuls.)

For the rest of us, there is not a strong Sefardi community, because there are not enough strong Sefardi families. (Yes, we are growing, and slowly but surely there will, iy”H, be many Sefardi frum families.)

Various readers asked what happened to the Sefardi boys. Once again, because the Ashkenazim are having a hard time marrying off their girls, they turn to our good, frum, Sefardi boys, and our boys readily agree to go out with them. After all, wouldn’t anyone love to join an established, frum, growing community?

So who are we left with to go out with?

I am redd shidduchim of boys who are 29 and up. I am redd disabled boys. I am redd boys who come with baggage. And I am redd to boys who were born and raised in other countries and who came to this country only a few years ago.

I know of several girls who married boys from the same origin as their parents. Yes, they married boys who were not born and raised in America.

We, Americanized frum Bais Yaakov girls, who have wonderfully blended into the communities, should go out with boys who came only a couple of years ago to the country?

Don’t get me wrong. I am sure boys from other countries are excellent, but they have a different mentality and different culture. They are just so different!

You know what they tell me? That I am being picky. I should give 29-year-old boys, disabled boys, boys from other countries, and boys who just became baalei teshuvah a year ago a chance!

I am picky?! Why? Because I do not want to marry someone who is entirely different than me? Because I am 21 and still not married?

I am not asking you all to sympathize with me. I am calling out for help! What should I do? Where do I go?

It frightens me, but the thought has occurred several times to me that maybe, perhaps, I should associate with a different type of crowd. Crowds where boys and girls meet on their own. This way, I can maybe find my bashert. But just the thought sends tears down my cheeks. How can a solid Bais Yaakov girl who comes from an excellent family that supports Torah ever do such a thing?

I, along with many other Sefardi girls, feel so rejected. What don’t we have? Sefardim have such yiras Shomayim.

Aishes chayil mi yimtzah… Sheker hachein vehevel hayofi…isha yiras Hashem hi tishallal.”          



I promise that I am not just saying this. We really do! And as a bonus, yes, many Sefardim happen to be wealthy, so support is not a problem. Yet, with all of this, we are rejected.

I understand that our parents are from different cultures, but please, won’t you even give us a chance? We won’t disappoint you.

This has been a long letter, and it might get boring for some readers, so I will stop here.

Once again, I do not want your sympathy. I want your help, advice, direction, suggestions and thoughts about this critical matter.

I thank the editors for being so kind to me and for allowing me to post this. And I thank you all for reading my message.

An Anxious Girl Full of Emunah


  1. Ms. Anxious:
    From your third paragraph: There are many different types of Sefardim. Syrian. Iraqi. Moroccan. Persian. Yemenite. We are all different. Just because one is Sefardi Iraqi does not mean that they would click better with a Yemenite just because they are Sefardi too. Let’s get that clear. So the next time you call a Sefardi girl, please don’t say, “I know this great Sefardi guy learning in Lakewood.”

    Methinks that you are being a tad to picky. If you are, say, an Iraqi, you have just said that you aren’t interested in a Teimani. Why are you then surprised that it is difficult to find one who wants you?

    What is the next letter going to say? I’m an Iraqi from Nehardea, how can you set me up with an Iraqi from Pumbedisa? Mischuna lischuna. . . MeHagmunia leHagmunia!

    Within the American culture, there is a difference between a girl from Chicago, and one from Detroit. Between an out of towner and an East Coaster. New Yorker and a Lakewooder. Boro Park vs Flatbush. Hey, there’s even a world of difference between Bobov of 45th St and Bobov of 48th St.

    We are all Yidden. And if a Ben Torah is suggested to you, you should ask about his personality, his sh’eifos, his priorities. Don’t worry that he may come from a group that is not preferred in your world. If you remain focused on labels of people that aren’t good enough for you, (the Yemenite referred to in your own words) then don’t be surprised when shadchanim reflect that back to you.

  2. Just because one is Sefardi Iraqi does not mean that they would click better with a Yemenite just because they are Sefardi too. Let’s get that clear. So the next time you call a Sefardi girl, please don’t say, “I know this great Sefardi guy learning in Lakewood.

    As a technicality; Yeminites aren’t Sefardim.

    More to the point due to (1)the general difficulty with Shiducim (2)your specific issues and points, why do you pay attention to the (Sephardic) origins of a boy who was proposed to you.HATZLACHA!!!

  3. As a sefardi, single, FRUM, 26 year old girl, I feel like I can completely realte, and I have a couple if things to add:
    Comment #17: I must 100% dissagree with you. Yes, Hashem Decrees who will marry whom, however we have free choice. And people can very easily choose to reject someone based on them being Sefardi, having a big nose, having a small nose, not having enough money, having too much money, having curly hair, having straight hair, having leather couches, having suede couches, having steel couches – the list of retardation goes on and on. “The crisis is in our head.”?! Are you for real? And you think Mentchlichkeit is NOT genetic? Where do people learn it from, exactly?
    I will have to agree with #20. It’s a general crisis, but the more specific (not picky) a person is, the harder it is. Everyone wants to marry a person/into a family most similar to their own backround, to avoid as much conflict as possible.
    It’s unfortunate and it’s heartbreaking. In general, peoples’ focus is on minor insignificant details, such as age, height, dress size, hair color, money in their father’s bank account, ect. It can’t be said enough that people nowadays when reading shidduchim ask the wrong questions, and have lost sight of what’s important – character, yiras shamayim, being goodhearted, humble, ect.
    Again, we’ve been crying this cry for some time now, yet the parents, and the singles still do not look away from the insignificant stuff, because it’s become a competition. People have lost track of what they need in a spouse, and are focused on what their friend/next door neightboor/third cousin twice removed has.

  4. From what I heard,the Arizal said that “mixed” (ie Sefardim-Ashkenazim) marriages help bring the Geula closer. He himself was a product of such a marriage.

  5. 1. Cut out the labeling…look at the person do you have similar goals? Differences should be embraced not challenged
    2. Mentality or as I like to say do u guys click? Men and Women ARE different no matter where from
    3. Your upset because you need to consetrate on the person and stop being discrimminating!
    4. Your being hypacritical when you say i wont date a baal teshuvah but then mention that out of desperation you will consider intermingeling with mixed crowds. These mixed crowds are most probably worse than baal teshuvah who are at the very least are TRYING TO BETTER THEMSELVES AND THERE CONNECTION TO TORAH AND MITVOT! I rest my case.

  6. To the midwesterner,
    you are completely off base, just as there is hesitatncy for a chassidish boy/girl to be redt to a strongly litvishe family, because of the different culture, there is a world of cultural difference between sefardim from different places.

  7. why not just empathise with this poor women, tell her we are ashamed of how some people in our community behave, that we condemn this type of stupid racism, that every baal tshuva, or sephardi, or not 100% perfect yeshivish person knows and hates this system, and that we will work with her until the system changes?

    why waste ink on stuff about her being picky? i cant imagine what part of “planet insensitive” you come from to write that. you should ask her mechilla.

  8. Dear Comment #1 (midwesterner): Your point is well taken. But, and I’m sure it was a mistake or typo, please in the future do not disgrace a Bas Yisroel by calling her with the feminist “Ms.” Miss would have been appropriate here.

  9. reply to #1:

    I disagree with you COMPLETELY!!!
    I think you are misunderstanding her. She is saying that she is was born and raised here, in ASHKENAZIK schools, so she rather goes out with an ashkenazi rather than someone who came from yemen, who is evidently different!
    doesn’t that make sense?
    wouldn’t you rather marry someone as close as possible?
    I am sure, say she is iraqi, and lives in a yemen community and attends their schools, and shuls, she would be more willing to go out with them because she feels that she knows them and is similiar to them.
    it is completely justifiable to claim that one prefers to date ashkenazim than a foreign and entirely new culture, only because they were raised!!!

  10. while I sympathise with the poster, I feel I need to make a few points.

    Firstly, Taimanim see themselves are far closer to Ashkenasim than Sefardim and many Teimanim would refuse a Sefardi Shidduch.

    Secondly, the OP says that “So the next time you call a Sefardi girl, please don’t say, “I know this great Sefardi guy learning in Lakewood.”” So what should we say? I know this great guy learning in Lakewood? If this guys been brought in going to Ashkenazi yeshivos, the likelyhood s he has the same American mindset as you do. Why are you judging him a sbeing Sefardi, which is exactly what you accuse the Ashkenasim of doing?

    Thirdly, while I sympathise with your plight, please try and see it from the other side. I have a close friend who married an Askenasi-ised Sefardi, and while he’s very happy, he’s admitted that there is still a big cultural divide in minhogim, nusach hatefiloh etc, etc, even mindset. Its obvious that a boy getting married will feel more at home and comfortable with the minhogim and nuscho’ois he is used to. So its obvious that parents, when looking for a shidduch will want that first and foremost for their children. So why should they take someone who, like it or not, comes from a different background and to whose family (be it wider or immediate family) their son will have to conform or be accomodated to.

  11. Everything you wrote is 100% true unfortunately, but because you are the erlicher girl you say you are – just say another kappitel thillim, focus on doing good deeds & dont allow yourself to become distracted.

    1) Every single family in the shidduchim parsha goes thru some rejection maybe not as harsh as yours, but rejection nontheless. Those that don’t are the exception to the rule …. Personally I know an Ashkenazi girl w/wonderful middos, from a beautiful Bnei Torah family & a huge dowry too that is quite a few years older then you & has yet to become engaged.

    2) 21 yrs old is no reason to become frantic (I dont mean to be unsympathetic)its just that Hashem created the world, he didnt just forget about you – don’t worry so …. it’ll work out, you’ll see

    3) Continue to be strong & don’t get offended by the suggestions (each suggestion brings the right one closer), you can always say – I’m in the middle of something, I dint get such good info – be creative but by all means don’t allow it to get to you

    4) I once heard from another parent (Ashkenazi not Sefardi) that was having trouble in this parsha & Shadchunim were suggesting totally inappropriate ideas that his friend told him, you’ll see – when you finally make a shidduch, you’ll be sending flowers to all those that ‘rejected’ you out of appreciation, cause you’ll have gotten a much better deal be”h

    I feel for you, wish you all the very best & hope that be”h you’ll soon be writing back to invite us all to share in your simcho

  12. reply to #8

    trust me, if I had them offering to me, and they are good boys, I would take the offer.
    problem: they filter us out. slightly valid, but still hurts.

  13. reply #11

    I am sorry if you misunderstood my article.
    of course I do not mind going out with any sefardim, be it iraqi, moroccan, syrian, or persian SO LONG they were born and raised in america.
    when i say sefardi boys, I am talking boys that came a couple of years ago from iraq, syria, morocco, persian.
    we sefardi girls do not mind intermingling with another sefardi SO LONG as were born and raised here and have that americanized mentality!
    is that too much to ask for?
    do you still consider us picky?

  14. reply #1

    Although it hurts alot to hear such insensitivity from you, I forgive you because I think you completely missed my point.

    We do not mind going out with other sefardi boys SO LONG as they were born and raised in America. We do not reject American Sefardim.

    However, (this is the part which I think you misunderstood) it is slightly difficult to go out with sefardi boys who grew up in a different country.

    am I clear?

  15. reply #5

    would you mind your daughter to date a boy who became frum about a year ago?
    and before that he didn’t keep Torah U’Mitzvos??
    I am not talking about long term baal teshuvas, rather those who just took the first step.

    isn’t it slightly risky?
    perhaps in a few months, chas v’shalom, it may be too hard and they will drop it all. oy!


    so long as their are far more girls in the shidduch pool than boys, we will continue to see sad letters like this.

    Baals Teshuva Girls, Sefardi Girls etc, it is a devastating situation and for the most part we are sleeping and letting these girls suffer.

    It’s high time the community got cracking on encouraging more close in age shidduchim

  17. if you dont mind changing the picture i find it afensive. that picture is obveasly not jewish because in our circles the chasson dosn’t put the engagement ring on the Kallahs hand ITS NIGGIAH which is an ervah

  18. Is it lost on you just how hypocritical you sound? You really make me wonder how many boys you've turned down - and of how many varieties - before you write a letter so full of stereotypes and complaints.


  19. reply # 19

    what does the pic have to do with anything?
    that is a concern you must post to Matzav, they are the ones that post the picture.
    what do you want from this poor girl

  20. grat topic and I absolutley will not undermine this test of faith that you are experiencing. However when you sign off by writing “anxious girl full of emunah”
    it is clear that you have a misunderstanding of the word emunah!
    Talk to hashem ,pray to him speak to him from the heart. He knows you, he loves u and he wants to hear from you.he can make your bashert walk into your life in a milisecond. Every tribulation that we have is just a message from hashem begging us to get close to him. Pick up the book “garden of emunah” read it from cover to cover and I gurantee you will find your bashert directly after. Mazal tov! may you live a life of peice and tranquility.

  21. The simple solution would be for all girls under 20 to stop shidduchim until there are enough bochurim for the older ones. Rochel did that for Leah. And Yaacov Avinu showed midos in how he handled that.

    That way with marriages closer in age there might also be gains for shalom bayis.

    Unfortunately there is a preference among bochurim for younger girls that smacks of a Goyish midah of valuing women as attractive objects especially when combined the other superficial characteristics we hear about in shidduchim.

  22. If only commentors like chames wouldn’t post their silly comments on the serious situation of so many girls available, perhaps something could be done.

  23. Yeracmiel Lopin (#26):

    I disagree. The better solution would be for boys to start getting married at 18, like advised by Chazal in Pirkei Avos.

  24. “I am redd shidduchim of boys who are 29 and up. I am redd disabled boys. I am redd boys who come with baggage. And I am redd to boys who were born and raised in other countries and who came to this country only a few years ago.”

    I don’t know how to break this to you, but plenty of Ashkenazi girls are being redd these same boys. You are free to say no to them, just as they are free to be hurt that you are turning them down.

  25. try to ignore all silly comments. as a sephardic jew with daughters , I can feel your pain . There is a great rabbi in brooklyn who can help you .call him . his name is Rabbi Mordechai Maslaton shlita, he has helped thousands of people and may be able to help you . He thought of this problem years ago.So he found a solution , though not so simple, he finds boys with potential , though weak backgrounds and works with them till they are solid yeshivishe bnei torah . he is very successful bli ayin hara .and Lakewoods community is filled with his talmidim . call him and he will help you . he’s very busy but keep on top of him . also I once heard that girls who are single should occupy themselves with chesed and in that zechut they will find their Nesiv (arabic for bashert) hatzlacha .

  26. for those of u who find the picture offensive- there’s nothing to be offended about. if u look closely- it the same person fingering the ring on the other hand. please look more closely before accusing.

  27. There are some very shallow people involved in the shidduch world, but they are not the WHOLE shidduch world. I have friends who are baalei teshuva, giyoreses, from divorced homes, from dysfunctional homes, fat, over 6 feet tall, have health problems, and yes, even Sfardi, and they all are in happy marriages right now. The girls I know who have passed the 25 and single mark are for the most part asheknazi girls from normal homes (with exception). I know it’s hard, it was excruciating with me, but as a rav once said to a friend of mine with health problems and from a very difficult family “It’s true that you will get less dates, but when you are meant to find your other half is preordained in Heaven and will come exactly when you need it to.”

  28. don’t listen to the insensitive commentators!
    you are not labeling anyone.
    be strong, and keep on going, if you fall of the bicycle, then just get back on, don’t let these silly comments bother you

  29. I should add to my comment above that it is very sick that just because a girl is Sefardi she should be put into the same category of “chesronos” as a girl with health or family problems, but my point still stands, that you are not single because you are sfardi, you are single because this is what Hakadosh Baruch Hu wants for you at this point in time. IY’H it won’t stay that way for long.

  30. My daughters (aged 21 and 19) will happily take a shiddach who is over 30, divorced and not Sephardi. They have been redd Chassidic boys whose families ultimately rejected us for being Sephardi, not the other way around.

    They will take a boy who is from another country, in fact my eldest daughter speaks French and Spanish fluently. She can work in Hebrew and also speaks some Arabic.

    It is a reality that Sephardi girls are put in the category of chesronos, this is not something new.

    My husband and I are both Sephardi, but were raised in the Ashk. world. We were set up because we both had the “disability” of being Sephardi.

    I wish this young woman that she should find her zivug soon I”YH.

    If anyone has any ideas for my daughters,

    please email me

    T’zku L’mitzvot!

  31. no one mentioned the new wonderful 1/2 – 1/2 issue – that a nice “ashkenazi” boy from Torah Vodaas – marries (chas v’shalom!) a Prospect Park girl whose parents were born in Tunisia..
    Now their mixbreed daughter – who also went to Prospect Park — and followed her father’s minhagim completely — is “trief” because of the sephardi blood from her mother’s side!! Oy Oy Oy

  32. Also, blaming Hashem for the pain we cause – by self created racist categories is an old trick..

    No doubt used well by the Yidden before the first and second Churban — As surely all that was going on – was Hashem’s will (until they found out too late – that it wasn’t!)

  33. You write: “Various readers asked what happened to the Sefardi boys. Once again, because the Ashkenazim are having a hard time marrying off their girls, they turn to our good, frum, Sefardi boys, and our boys readily agree to go out with them. After all, wouldn’t anyone love to join an established, frum, growing community?”

    Aha, look at your own community for the source of the problem. The sefardi boys marrying ashkenazi girls see it as a step up because sefardim have an inferiority complex. So the males in your community need to take pride in their heritage and then you’ll have boys to date.

  34. Anxious Girl Full of Emunah,

    Like our ancestors before us we live in the sheker world, but the sheker society today is far worse. Today we have more choices, more distractions, more dangers, more more more… So its no wonder that its easy to lose priorities. I think this is what you have to transcend. Find what you want in another person by first rediscovering what you want. Peel back the layers…

  35. “an anxious girl full of emunah”

    I think she is trying to say that even though her situation can cause much anxiety, she has emunah.

  36. I would just like to say that I totally understand the author of this. I am a 22 year old sefardi girl and I grew up just like all my ashkenazi friends. Of course I still keep all my minhagim, but is that really what makes a person tick? Does it really matter what you eat on shabbos and how spicy your food is? I went to ashkenazi schools, most of my friends are ashkenaz, yet I am having the most miserable time with shidduchim. There just aren’t that many sefardi learning boys out there, and ashkenazim don’t wanna give us a chance! 2 out of 3 of my siblings married ashkenazim and they are blissfully happy! We need to do something about this, let’s make shidduchim!

  37. I thnk that you are rejected by men because you come across as shallow. You think you are too good for young men who haven’t been in America for very long, young men who may have a disability, or men who don’t have enough money for you. Maybe you should look at a man’s character but, unfortuntely, your character flashes like neon lights that say “shallow, shallow, shallow.

  38. Funny, because if you knew me you would never say something like that to me. Having said that, I never said anything about being too good for anyone, neither did I bring money or disabilities into the picture. I’m just trying to open people’s eyes. I don’t think being realistic about what kind of boy I would be compatible with is a sign of shallowness. OUCH, are you G-D that you can say “You are going to be single for a long time, sweetie.”??? I hope the satan didn’t hear that!

  39. reply# 43

    you must beg the writer for forgiveness,
    and even then i wouldn’t be surprised if she would forgive you…you curse people
    I wonder how your marriage life is afterall, how many times did you curse your spouse?

  40. i was born in morroocco learn in england gatsheasd then mir yerushalaim then 10 years in lakewood i m thanking hashem that im seferadi

  41. I sympathize with you very much as my son is experiencing no small measure of rejection on account of being Sephardi, here in E”Y.

  42. HI! I am also a single sfardi girl, and I know I’m a little late in posting, but I just came upon this article now. Firstly, I would like to respond to the numerous questions of “why don’t you go out with Ashkenazi boys?” First of all, we could eat rice on pesach and they cant! Just joking. As a sefardi girl who is more open to going out with boys of different backgrounds, I can just say that while I have an easier time agreeing to go out with an ashkenazi boy, they are usually the ones with the problem. That is a FACT. I just like to take things in stride, but there is no denying that there are holes in the system, as are in every system, and we have to do our best to get around them. As a persian sefardi, I have gone out with other “sects” of sefardi, and at the end of the day, I can tell you that we are all good, frum Jews and nothing else should really matter. Hatzlacha with everything, and don’t worry about it! There is someone out there for you. Watch him be a totally ashkenazi boy!LOL!

  43. Dear Young Lady:
    You should know that being sephardi is primary. Back in babalonian times talmud babli there were only sepharidim. Ashkenazim were from euro countries which evolved later in life. Abraham sojourned to egypt because of a lack of food. Hashem told him go there. Moshe the greatest man on the face of the planet was born in egypt escaped to midyan another sephardic land. So stop being a third string ashkenazi and be proud of your heritage. You are 1st string sephardi. Hold your head up high. Besides your only 21. It’s gonna be alright. You will meet. soon good luck mc

  44. Umm, it might be useful for all involved to stop defining themselves as types and labels and stop looking to marry them. How shocked these folks must be when they stand under the chuppah and find a person r”l there! Yes, I never made a shidduch but I did marry someone, and guess what? She was a person, not a label. Of course we use labels at home, to distinguish canned appelsauce from string beans.