ChabadMatch Update

Cheshvan 5777 Edition 6

Shidduch 123: Automated Suggestions Continue to Succeed!

An automated suggestion was recently sent to a boy's family. They responded to the Shadchan that they were busy with another suggestion. After a few weeks they looked back at it, and being that one of the Kallah's references was a relative of theirs, Mrs. Rivkie Kahanov, they continued through her. Boruch Hashem they got engaged thereafter!


Rabbi Manis Friedman: Love at First Sight?

Shadchan Up Close: Dr. Elka Pinson of Crown Heights

Q. How did you first get involved in Shidduchim?

A. Like many, I started getting involved in shidduchim as a parent seeking shidduchim for my own kids. (B”H now I have 5 married and 3 “eligibles”.)

Being an incorrigible collector, I simply couldn’t bear to discard profiles which weren’t suitable for my kids, and “recycled them”, shared them with others, and made a few shidduchim. I also got active with the Chabad Shidduch Group of Brooklyn (founded by Shoshana Lerner), meeting monthly for about 7 years now.

I have been a professional, licensed Psychologist for over 30 years now, and have treated individuals of all ages, from all sorts of backgrounds and with all sorts of concerns. During these years, not surprisingly, I  found that my professional work as a therapist often involved shidduch-related issues. Many of my clients were young adults, so discussion naturally included the topics of dating and marriage.

Older clients also spoke about their earlier courtships, and so I became quite an expert on typical scenarios. Further, I combined listening to and understanding their stories, with my prior knowledge of personality and development, and through the lens of my newer areas of clinical interest, which are trauma and attachment.

Q. What Shidduchim do you specialize in?

A. I found that I particularly love working with young adults, I am energized by it. Why? Because the nature of that life-stage is that a lot happens! There are numerous “first experiences”. Major decisions are made. There is the potential for fun and excitement. With young people, changes and growth can and do happen quickly, and the benefits of their good decisions have life-long impact. It seems marriages are made and families are created (almost) in the blink of an eye!

Many assume that my clientele are not “typical” of the general Chabad or Crown Heights’ populations. However, in fact, my Chabad clients tend to be extremely typical, high-functioning individuals in our world. They are seminary and college students, teachers, shluchim, and all types and styles of others. They range from individuals experiencing anxiety (whether about dating, or more generally) to people who have challenges in self-esteem, decision-making and self-doubt, etc.  Many need opportunities to define their own identity and needs in contrast to others’ expectations of them. Some need help in clarifying their values, or establishing their goals in order to decide if a particular shidduch is right for them. Numerous times, I have been consulted to help an individual decide whether to move forward with or break off a relationship. They may feel unduly pressured by others. I have found many singles having a “committee” of well-meaning but opinionated people giving them advice about what to do. They come to me for an opportunity and a space in which to clarify and articulate their own feelings and needs. Sometimes, this results in a L’Chaim, sometimes not. But the client has made the decision, now, as a true adult. Either way, we celebrate THIS decision together, as they have now experienced mastery over their own lives!

Sometimes I work as an ongoing therapist - addressing any and all of life’s issues - and sometimes I work more narrowly, focussed on the shidduchim/dating  topics. This depends on the “contract” with the client. The job of a therapist is not  mainly as an “advice-giver” but as a facilitator. Sometimes I am also interpreter, such as when trying to understand others. While not advice, I may give gentle guidance as needed, and in all cases, I provide a lot of psycho-education, teach coping techniques (especially good to handle social anxiety), and help the individual structure their dating experience to be more effective.

The bad news: We are living in a time when there is an overabundance of options in the world and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) interferes with making decisions and “settling down” (pun intended). There is also a documented escalating epidemic of anxiety disorders. That is the problem.

The good news: There are solutions there are lots of tools, knowledge, and resources available to support shidduch dating, and help foster emotionally healthy relationships and families. I am honored to be part of the solution!

Dr. Elka Pinson, Psy.D. is based in Crown Heights and can be reached at or +1-917-324-2386, 

Dating Course

Use coupon code: Chabadmatch to receive a 60% discount on Rabbi Manis Friedman's 3-Part Teleseminar for Bochurim and Girls.


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