Articles by Mashe Katz

Ask the Shadchan


bride

To the Shadchan:

I have been inquiring about a young man who was redt to my daughter. I happened to meet a friend of mine who is a teacher and taught him in 10th grade. This boy seems to have been a troublemaker at that age. My friend could not say anything nice about him. She told me he was chutzpadik and gave her a hard time.This young man is 23 now. He is a professional, who is working after learning in yeshiva for a few years. More recent references have only good things to say about him. It seems he is a hard worker with good middos. He comes from a good family, and everything checks out okay.

My question is how much credence should I give to the teacher’s words. Maybe the attributes that made him behave badly when he was 15 are deeply ingrained character defects that are still relevant. Or maybe he is now using his chutzpa, etc. for good things. How can I find out which scenario is the correct one? Or should I chalk it all up to being a teenager?

If you think that information from the past is relevant, what would be the cut-off age, before which we should not take information seriously? Obviously, no one would pay attention to the way a person behaved when he was in kindergarten. Or would they? I would appreciate your advice and opinion.


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Musings of a Shadchan


shidduchim

Tu B’Av, the 15th day of Av, is approaching as I write, and Yom Kippur is not far behind. These were joyous days in ancient times as the girls went out to the vineyards in borrowed white dresses and danced, exhorting the young men to choose their zivug. We don’t make shidduchim that way anymore – for better or worse! – but I have been making shidduchim long enough to have seen many other changes over the years of my “career.” So, taking a break from the usual question-and-answer format of this column, I will instead try to answer a question I have been asked many times: How has the shidduch world changed?

Let me start by describing the frum community through the eyes of a girl born in Ohio. It was very different from today. Cleveland was a midbar (desert) in the years of my youth, as were all the cities in the United States except for New York. The frum population was extremely small, with few eligible boys or girls in town.


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Ask the Shadchan


shidduchim

I grew up in a frum family, and over the years, my three brothers have left our family’s ways. Only my sister and I are still frum. Of course, my parents are extremely upset about their sons, although we do still have a relationship with them. Now that I am ready to look for a shidduch, however, they are worried. I am also worried. I can tell that the local shadchanim, who know us, are hesitant to suggest anything. It has come to me through the grapevine that people are afraid to redt shidduchim for me, because they think there must be something terribly wrong with my family.

Truthfully, as far as I can tell, nothing is wrong with my family. We are very average. In income and everything else, we are like most families in the community. My parents work hard, but they have shalom bayis and always made time for us children.


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Ask the Shadchan


couple

I have been going out with a young lady, and we are close to getting engaged. She is everything I am looking for, and we talk easily and enjoy each other’s company. Something came up on our last date, however, that is disturbing and makes me question where to go from here.

The girl said, “I think I should tell you that I have debt.” It seems that she borrowed a large amount of money for graduate school. She started school, using the money for both tuition and living expenses, which is allowed by the terms of the loan. Then she dropped out during the first semester and found a job. Her family somehow spent the rest of the loan. Basically, the money is gone. Her family is not able to pay it back, and the loan is on the girl’s name, so she is responsible for it. That means that, if we get married, it will be my responsibility as well.


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Ask the Shadchan


shidduchim

To the Shadchan:

I’m in yeshiva, recently started in shidduchim, and I have had a few disappointing experiences. A couple of times, when I picked up the girl at her home and saw her for the first time, I immediately knew she was not for me. I was certainly gracious and tried to find common ground with her on the date. Once, I even gave it another chance with a second date. But in my heart, I realized that my first reaction was correct and I would not be able to continue. This happened after a long process of checking her out, taking off time from yeshiva, possible travel, and expenses, such as renting a car.


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Ask the Shadchan


shidduchim

To the Shadchan:

I’m a regular Baltimore girl. I live at home with my parents and work as a professional. I’m considered pretty and accomplished, and have everything going for me. At 25, I’ve been dating for five years and am finding at least one aspect of it very stressful.

I keep hearing from shadchanim, my mother, and people in general that I should be going to shul and to other events and gatherings so that people will “see you and remember that you need a shidduch.” I’m constantly told that I have to look my best at all times – including makeup and perfect hair – whenever I leave the house.


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