Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Chicago Shidduchim Conference

The Chicago Shidduch Group is by far Lubavitch's most active shidduch group around.
Not only are they busy learning and networking and shaking the heavens with their peulos and halchlotos but they are determined to carry the rest of the Lubavitcher world with them.
If every city would have such dedicated ladies working on shidduchim there would not be such a thing as the much bandied "Shidduch Crisis".

This Sunday Chicago hosted the first Lubavitch Shidduch Conference. Mrs Fay Miller was the gracious hostess, who lent her house to this endeavor and had over 50 ladies Kn"h traipsing though to learn old/new ways and means to bring about more shidduchim.
After all once at a farbrengen (5711) 1951 the Rebbe poured mashke for some Tmimim and blessed them that they should find proper shidduchim. Then the Rebbe said: We speak all the time about making preparations for Moshiach. A proper shidduch and establishing a Jewish home is connected to one’s preparations for the coming of Moshiach, as the Sages say, “Ben Dovid will not come until all the souls in Guf [the supernal storehouse of souls] are finished.”
We all want Moshiach to come Now and therefore we wish to accomplish this endeavor with as much speed as possible.

A group of ladies from Detroit braved the bad weather and snow and drove into Chicago. Mrs. Tzirel Frankel came all the way from sunny California to grace us with her expertise and maybe add some more leads to her already bulging book.
Michigan, New Jersey, Ottawa, and of course, New York were represented.
Mrs. Elana Bergovoy of the Chicago group welcomed the guests and gave a short wort on the parsha.

I was honored to be able to address the audience with our Rebbe's words about shidduchim. I took the podium again in the afternoon to give some practical advice on the subject and answer questions.

Mrs Devorah Shulman from Ann Arbor, MI gave us a unique perspective on how her daughter shidduch evolved. From the first bewildering injunction from the shliach that it was time to find her daughter a shidduch until the breaking of the glass under the Chuppa. How interesting to hear that what for some almost commonplace is actually a confusing maze for others.

All present had the chance to read out profiles of young men and women. A profile is a short description of the person, age, height, personality and what it is they are looking for. No names are mentioned or other obviously identifiable characteristics. Mrs Chaya Rochel Zimmerman ably moderated and kept the ball rolling.

Rabbi Levi Bukiet, Rabbi Moshe Raitman, Mrs. Tzirel Frankel, Mrs. Chaya Sara Gurevitch and myself aired our annoyances with the shidduch process. Things like unrealistic expectations, pictures, lack of honesty in shidduch research responses and other such concerns.

The evening ended with one more session in Mrs. Leah Miller's house on the topic of Shadchonim. Mrs Tzirel Frankel led the conversation on how can shadchonim be more effective and what are the real challenges of a shadchan. It has been mentioned that unfortunately basic hakoras hatov is severely lacking on the part of the parents in this field especially as there is a lack of understanding about the amount of time involved for a good shadchan in giving a suggestion (and not just blurting a list of names).

The Halchlatos adopted by the Chicago Group were printed up for all participants to take home and remember.
These are:
* Give 18 cents a day to a Hachnossas Kallah Pushka. (one was included in the entrance package.)
* Learn what the Rebbe said about Shidduchim (Eternal Joy)
* Daven for others needing shidduchim in your city.
* Do your Hishtadlus:
*# Make a phone call regualrly for your child.
*# Help someone else with their child's shidduch
*# Help someone else prepare for a simcha.

Mrs. Frankel mentioned she suggested the following kapitlach in tehilim, specifically for shidduchim: 32, 38, 70, 71, 121, 123.

On Monday morning, before leaving, the shidduch group invited Mrs Frankel and myself for breakfast at Mrs. Bergovoy's for a review of the conference.
B"H the general consensus was that it had been a great success and hopefully many shidduchim will emerge from this event. The ladies put together a list of potential ideas to facilitate the making of shidduchim.

I will publish these ideas in a future column, at the moment I would like to discuss one idea which might be implemented shortly if Yagdil Torah can raise the funds:
It was suggested that it is difficult for parents especially when they are out of town to properly prepare their boys for the shidduch date. There are matters of Halacha and hashgofo that they should know, such as yichud or opening doors, or what subjects are appropriate on first or second dates. Also social matters such as how to apologize for tardiness and how to dress for a shidduch date etc.

Hopefully such monitoring will be made available to boys who are in the parsha of shidduchim so they should have the guidance necessary to succeed.

I hope other cities will be inspired by what Chicago has accomplished and will arrange their own groups and conferences.

And now acharon acharon choviv, let me thank the Chicago Group for a superb job, for inviting me to share in their work and a special thank you to my hostess Sarah Miller for outstanding hachnassat orchim.

Download Audio Link1
Download Audio Link2 -


rosie said...

I was one of those Detroit ladies that drove through the blinding blizzard but it was worth it. The speakers were all amazing and I learned many new things. I am trying to get more of them to dialog on this blog because we need to get dialog going in the area of shidduchim. Although shidduchim were never easy, they were easier than they are today. The challenges that existed in previous generations may no longer exist but now we have new ones and must look for new means to handle them. That is why I hope that more people will take the opportunity to comment on this blog.

Mariam said...

I am a journalist doing research on the shidduchim process. If there are any shadchams who follow this post, I would be grateful to hear from you. My email is Thank you for your time.