In February 2020, shortly prior to our world closing up, a rare phenomenon took place in Teaneck. An in-person shidduch meeting, under the rubric of Bergen County Connections, resulted in three marriages and many dates. Throughout the next two years of social closure, a WhatsApp group continued to present the resumes of singles, and Zoom meetings were held during which shadchanim exchanged ideas and interviewed singles. Matches were announced monthly by the WhatsApp group, which now consisted of over 93 participants including rabbis and rebbetzins, lay leaders and shadchanim. Their clientele consisted of singles from around the tri-state area and even internationally, including Canada and Israel.
Fast-forward to this past Tuesday evening, January 11. The first post-pandemic meeting of the newly organized “Project Meet Your Match” was hosted in the grand social hall of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun. Approximately 30 shadchanim attended, representing their respective Bergen County shuls and the individuals from their shuls looking for their basherts.
During the last designated time period of the three-hour meeting, participants were invited to interact regarding specific singles who were presented. This crucial segment of the evening led to suggestions for actual follow-up and matching-up of singles who appeared suitable. The hope is that the evening resulted in many dates and, hopefully, the greatly anticipated “matches.”
The organizers of Project Meet Your Match have been involved in making shidduchim over many years. Many of those on the planning committee are members of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun, where they have served in leadership positions. Aviva Edelstein serves as co-chair of the adult education committee. Chaya Schwartz is a vice president. New morah d’asra Rabbi Eliot Schrier has expressed enthusiasm about the committee and its work, as has Steven Becker, president of CBY. Yvette Levy and Frances Gozland are actively involved in the new project as well as Naomi Landsman who said, “As Bergen County Regional Director for YU Connects, being part of this new initiative is giving back to my home.”
Edelstein brings insightful educational background to the new initiative. She expressed her admiration for the shadchanim who have come forward to become involved in this new endeavor. “They are aware of the time and even emotional investment involved and yet they do it as a labor of love.” Edelstein shared that the project is open to serving Bergen County singles of all ages, previous marital statuses, and religious leanings.
“We have three major goals for the project,” Edelstein continued. “The first is to provide a responsible and trustworthy place for singles to share their resumes. The second is to provide chizuk and hope to singles and their families. And the third is to create a sense of unity in our ever-expanding community by reaching out to each other in the fulfillment of this great mitzvah of making matches. We are constantly reflecting and learning as a committee to better meet the needs of the singles in our community.”
Schwartz is excited that many of the shadchanim for Project Meet Your Match have been involved in matchmaking for many years. She herself had founded the Teaneck Shidduch Committee on which she served for four years. The operating model of that organization was that the singles met the various shadchanim in a speed-dating setting. Schwartz feels that the new model will move more quickly and provide a larger audience for more singles.
“We are moving ahead like a well-oiled machine,” said Schwartz. “We have already set the dates for our upcoming bi-monthly meetings through December of 2023. In addition to the resumes considered at the meetings, our Meet Your Match WhatsApp will continuously list new resumes for our shadchanim to review. We are encouraging our shadchanim to identify themselves within their shuls so that they will become the known go-to people for the many accomplished young men and women in our midst. We are even considering the formation of a college and post-college Shabbat minyan in the community; a successful model already exists in The Five Towns. We are here to serve our Bergen County singles.”
To submit resumes or to contact the Project Meet Your Match team, go to [email protected]
By Pearl Markovitz