Devorah is a young married woman living in Lakewood. Every once in a while, her thoughts wander to the plight of her close friends who are still single and haven’t dated in months. She even considers redding shidduchim for them. But the thought of the endless phone calls and the sleepless nights is just plain discouraging. And besides, what are the chances that any shidduch she redds would actually come to fruition? So Devorah abandons her plan as being too risky and time consuming. And her single friends stay single for much longer.
How many of us are like Devorah? We wake up in the morning with a burst of energy, a shidduch idea germinating in our heads. But by the middle of the day we lose momentum. More often than not, we are scared that our suggestion is going to flop.
For all the whining about our community’s Shidduch Crisis, how many of us are actually doing something about it? Our shadchanim and mentors are certainly working hard to keep our young people dating and we all truly appreciate their efforts. But maybe it’s time we took a long and hard look at the system itself, to see where it needs improvement. Maybe we need to consider a whole new perspective. That’s where the Nasi Project comes in.
For the last 3 and a half years the NASI Project has been singularly dedicated to alleviating the shidduch crisis we find ourselves in by encouraging more close in age shidduchim. They started by educating the masses about the nature of Age Gap and how that has created the problem we find ourselves in. The immediate result was the breaking of the stigma associated with dating slightly older girls. Hundreds and hundreds of shidduchim took place with girls who where close in age to the boys if not even older.
Now the Nasi Project is introducing a innovative and simple plan that has the capacity to generate massive shidduch attention for the slightly older girls.
Here’s how Moshe Pogrow of the Nasi Project explains it: “Let’s face it. Being a shadchan is a difficult and thankless task. Shadchanim are harassed and bothered wherever they go by virtually everyone they meet. It’s no wonder that even the best of them get frustrated. And people like Devorah are afraid to even try.” For the hundreds of people that attempt to redd shidduchim very very few last more than a few tries simply beause no one likes being a failure, and that’s exactly how they have been treated. NO engagement, NO success. And we all know, failure breeds quitting
“Our goal with this program is to illustrate to those who redd shidduchim that we absolutely DO appreciate their efforts. When a shidduch doesn’t materialize, there’s no reason to think it’s a failure. If you got it to a first date, it was a success on a certain level. If you got it to go to a fourth date, it was an even greater success. This has proven to be a tremendous motivator to get people to redd shidduchim. Both, novice shadchanim as well as experienced long time shadchanim have clearly stated that this concept is a huge motivator to focus on the sightly older girls. And the more quality shidduchim that are redd for the slightly older girls, then inevitably the more shidduchim will ultimately successful for those girls.
Here are the numbers. In Community #1, after just twelve months, 90 dates have been arranged, 30 have dated seriously and 12 engagements have resulted. In Community #2, after three months, 70 dates have been arranged and 4 engagements have resulted. Recently more communities and even one school has implemented this concept on behalf of their girls. But the figures and statistics only tell half the story. The interest and excitement that has been generated through this program is unprecedented. People are eager to redd shidduchim to these girls like never before.
Each community funds, runs and monitors the program on their local level. The basic concept (thought each community structures it as is appropriate for their situation) is if you get a slightly older girl to date number 1 the shadchan will receive $100. If it reaches a date number 4, the Shadchan receives and additional $300. Some of the communities are instituting a second level whereby even greater appreciation is shown for the dates that are set up for the girls who have been previously dating more than 6 years.
We are simply redefining success in terms of what a shadhan can produce, namely set up quality dates; as opposed to judging success by that which is really the sole realm of a Hakadash Barcuh Hu i.e. completing the shidduch.
The NASI Project is willing and ready to help any community, school or shul to implement this program to benefit their own girls. It is extremely cost effective as money is only spent on results.
Those of us who are doubtful about the effectiveness of this program may first want to hear out Mrs. JR, the coordinator for the community where this project is already in effect for the past twelve months. She is overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Here’s what she says: “There is no question of a doubt that this initiative has produced major positive effects and results. Many more dates have resulted for the slightly older girls that would have never been achieved otherwise. Numerous engagements have resulted. And most of all, the girls know that they are being cared for and looked after. That is the greatest chizuk to them.”
Still not convinced? Here are what some big-name shadchanim and the people funding the programs on these communities are saying : According to EG, “The project speaks for itself. The money incentive spurred massive activity. I seriously wake up excited each morning and feel my job is recognized and valuable.” SR says, “It’s a gevaldike idea. It will multiply dating!” AG adds, “This is for me a dream come true! Chazak V’ematz and don’t let go!” And PF says, “I was pleasantly surprised by how effective the one-date/fourth-date compensation was in influencing even the biggest and best shadchanim to focus on this age group!”
Of course only the Ribono Shel Olam is mezaveg zivugim, and our efforts at redding and coordinating shidduchim are just that - human efforts. But the hishtadlus must be made and the shidduchim must be redd in order for the Master Shadchan to do his holy work. This new project will ensure that this happens more consistently and more successfully than ever before for the older girls.
Devorah wakes up in the morning with tremendous enthusiasm. She has begun dabbling in shidduchim and actually feels that she has a knack for it. Her friend Suri will be going out with Heshy for the third time tonight and Yehudis is scheduled to have her first date with Yakov tomorrow. Raizy dated Yochanan twice and it didn’t work out, but it was exciting to get a check in the mail anyway. And now, Devorah thinks, maybe Raizy would be perfect for Aron…
For information on how to bring this program to your community, contact the Nasi Project at firstname.lastname@example.org