By Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin MA
If you are, as I am, a regular reader of various frum publications, then you often see articles from various people offering advice or making pronouncements to help the singles situation, and so forth.
From the experiences I had during the time my own children were dating and getting married during the ten years from about 2005 to 2015, what was helpful was getting names of Shadchanim [matchmakers] and trying to get them to help. But my wife preferred relying on a network of close friends and people she knew rather than cold-calling Shadchanim. My view has been more pragmatic, to find whatever works, that you have to TRY, to make the Hishtadlus [efforts], I like to say “you do your best and HaShem [God] will do the rest” and when there were lulls in dating I would collect the names of listed Shadchanim and Email them RESUMES, but at the end of the day that was not what helped us that much.
Communications via a simple chat on the PHONE, or plain Email, or a personal meeting between people has always worked best. Of course this is hard in today’s frenzied times but still, try to go for the personal touch as much as possible!
But something has happened in our English-speaking Frum world in America that more and more people have taken on the mantra that without a “Shiddush Resume” you can’t get a date and that will supposedly leave our sons and daughters single! So we spend hours and days trying to come up with the “perfect” Shidduch Resume and it’s not an easy job and then agonizing who to send it to and who not to send it to and what if it lands up in the “wrong hands”?!
Stop for a minute and ask yourself if we should be putting ourselves through all of this or even more basic how did we get to a point that we have become like the corporate world where you basically can’t get a job without a professional resume and that Shadchanim are some sort of corporate-style “head hunters” without their own lives? What kind of world is that? That idea has now floated and mixed into the mind-set of the English-speaking Frum world that thinks you can’t find a husband or a wife without a Shidduch Resume.
I am NOT advocating dropping Shidduch Resumes, on the contrary, if you need it then get one ASAP, but please do not lose perspective and please do not put your faith in finding a good Shidduch only through a piece of paper or in a WORD or PDF computer document!
With all the many tens of thousands Shidduch Resumes floating around now there is still the ongoing “Shidduch Crisis” and if you just stop for a minute and think about it, maybe, just maybe, there is a link between the “Shidduch Crisis” and the “Shidduch Resume” that tells us so much about ourselves and what has become of us.
After all, in Eretz Yisroel, from what I know of the way Shidduchim are made over there, no one mentions a Shidduch Resume especially among the native-born Charedi Jews of Eretz Yisroel. If you look at the Chasidisha worlds in both Israel and the USA no one seems to rely on Shidduch Resumes. Not to mention the Modern Orthodox world, they would scorn at the very notion of a Shidduch Resume as being “silly” and “unromantic”!
So why and how has the English-speaking Yeshivisha world become so “married” to using Shidduch Resumes over the last ten years especially?
No doubt everyone will have a different opinion, so I will share mine for what it’s worth.
If you look back over the last 50 to 100 years when Jews arrived as immigrants to America, none of them really came with official resumes. Most did not even speak English! Yet, they basically all found spouses to marry, jobs, and places to live and built solid Jewish families that we all come from. They overcame the obstacles in front of them! It may have been hard, but at the end of the day people became successful in business, built nice families and found very nice housing, mostly done WITHOUT any resumes for any of this.
Why is that? The answer is very simple, and it connects with why Chasidisha people and Eretz Yisroeldikka people still do not rely on a piece of paper to find work, a house or a spouse, because they rely on each other, they are connected to each other, they help each other, they feel responsible for each other and for fellow Jews who may need…anything.
As an example as in years gone by, when Jewish people got off the boats to start new lives in America basically every last Jewish relative, Jewish “landsleit” people from the old towns and communities they had once belonged to in Europe and just ordinary Jewish friends, Jewish neighbors and casual Jewish acquaintances automatically took on the “bein adam lechaveiro” [relations/commandments between man and man] and practiced “ve’ahavta lerei’acha kamocha” [love your neighbor as yourself] the kind of Ahavas Yisroel [love of fellow Jews] that flowed in them as naturally as their own blood flowing in their bodies that it was never ever a question that you must help every fellow Jew because it was instinctive and natural to them to help!
In that way, everyone helped everyone else!
If you knew of a Jew looking for work and you knew of a job, you helped him get the job. If you, meaning any Jewish person in a community knew of an available apartment or house and a fellow Jew was looking for a roof over his or her head, you helped them get it, and of course if you knew a single Jewish boy or girl or man or woman, then everyone clicked into action and said “Oh (or Oy!), do I have a nice Jewish boy/girl for you!” That attitude is now gone for too many people. We have lost that human touch and now everything is corporate and cold and impersonal and treated like just another nameless number, like you “can’t” get a job/shidduch unless you have a resume. While that may true in the corporate world it is not always the best way people need to find and get “Redt Shidduchim” [set up on dates] in the Frum world.
Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin lives in Flatbush and is the Director of the Jewish Professionals Institute www.jpi.org and his wife Zahava, although they are not Shadchanim, have counseled many in the area of Shidduchim and dating. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 718 382 5610 and 718 382 8058.