Login  |  Register
Mazaltov.co.uk  - Matchmaking (Shidduch)
The matchmaking system in the Jewish communities, known as shidduch is almost exclusively limited to the Orthodox communities although the online version become a popular method of finding a basherte or basherter (soulmate) among secular Jews as well. The traditional Jewish matchmaking system introduces singles to one another with the purpose of marriage. It is in many aspects similar to other traditions where arranged marriages are common but it is unique in several ways, most notably by giving the young people a free choice to say no, “I do not want to marry that person” or yes, “I want to marry the candidate”.

Shidduch or matchmaking has a long tradition in the Jewish world. The most famous example of shidduch are Abraham’s son Isaac and Rebekah who were brought together by Eliezer, Abraham’s servant. The latter arranged the marriage between Isaac and Rebekah but before he took Rebekah with him to become Isaac’s wife, she was asked for her opinion about the marriage. At the same time, Isaac got his own impression about Rebekah before he married her. The example of Isaac and Rebekah is not only the oldest recorded shidduch but is also intended to provide the parents of Jewish singles with a guidance in the search for the perfect spouse for their children. Before a marriage is arranged, both candidates have a right to express their opinion because according to the Jewish tradition, the final decision is made by the God. Despite that, a large part of the process is made by the parents and shadchan or matchmaker.

Matchmaking of the Jewish singles usually starts by the parents contacting a shadchan who then recommends a single on the basis of gathered information. However, shadchan provides the parents with all the information required about the candidate which usually include personality and character traits of the candidate, his or her interests, education, financial and health status, level of religious observance, etc. as well as information about his or her family, relatives and friends. If the parents (from both singles) determine that the recommended candidate could be a good choice, the two families arrange a visit of the female candidate by the male candidate and his parents to see if the two young people are compatible.

A typical visit starts by a conversation between the parents of the two candidates which are then left alone for a few minutes to be able to get a better impression about each other. The couple then usually meets several times in the home of their parents or a family friend but with the others close by. The number of dates varies greatly from one couple to another as well as from one community to another. Some couples date a few months before they announce the engagement, while the others decide to marry after a single date.

In addition to the traditional shidduch which is common among the Orthodox Jews, matchmaking in less strict communities is more “liberal”. The young couple which is paired either by a shadchan or a computer programme can date in a more relaxed environment such as a restaurant, hotel lobby, etc. which, however, does not mean that they are allowed to have a physical relationship before marriage. There is no time limit when it comes to dating but according to the Jewish tradition, any physical contacts before marriage are strictly forbidden.