Dovid Katz, a renowned Yiddish scholar and human rights activist, refers to matchmaking as “one of the most important skills for any Jewish mother”.
When marriage to a Jewish person was a priority, you historically only had one option which would be sanctioned by your mother – using a shadchan.
The first use of the word “shadchan” and what it means
The verb “shadak” was used in Talmudic times to refer to the arrangements which two heads of families made between themselves for the marriage of their children. The word “shadchan” (meaning marriage-broker) appears in rabbinical literature in the thirteenth century.
It is said that being a Shadchen is doing God’s work, reuniting someone with their other half a soul, thus making them complete, and enabling the creation of souls who are waiting to come to this world.
Though it’s been around for a long time, there are three things you may not know about matchmaking in the UK:
1. Old fashioned matchmaking is on the rise with secular Jews
Among very Orthodox Jews in the UK almost all marriages are brought about with the assistance of a shadchan. In the secular community, young Jews have used friends-of-friends, social get-togethers and – latterly – further education to meet their intended. But if you’re not fortunate enough to meet your soul mate through friends, at a youth group, University or workplace – what do you do next?
Internet dating – matchmaker, matchmaker make me an app
For the last few years, JDate, JSwipe and similar have entered the lexicon, and it’s no longer seen as shameful or embarrassing to meet your partner through a dating website.
Nick Paumgarten; writing in the New Yorker in July 2011 said “We have typically relied for our choices on happenstance – offhand referrals, late nights at the office, or the dream of meeting cute. Online dating sites, whatever their more mercenary motives, draw on the premise that there has got to be a better way.”
However, many online date-site users remain unmarried; serially dating a large number of utterly unsuitable people who may have been less than honest on their profiles.
This is one of the reasons that increasing numbers of Jewish people are using real life matchmakers; and not relying on computers to find their loved one.
Want to know two more things you probably didn’t know about matchmaking in the UK? Check out our next blog Sunday 21st.