ChabadMatch Update

Elul 5781 Edition 61 Celebrates It's First Anniversary, which lists basic details about all Bochurim and Seminary graduates in Chabad that are looking for a Shidduch, celebrated it's first anniversary this month. The list has grown to include over 2500 names, and gets updated daily. Everyone can play a role, if you know someone that is missing from the list, you can add them here. If you see someone on the list that is engaged, or missing information, you can click the Edit button to the right of their name to update those details.

Four New Engagements!!!!

Shidduch #217 - Shadchan Dassi Kramer relates: "The Kallah was in touch with me and after doing a search, she found a profile that looked of interest and asked me to look into it.  I reached out to the Bochur, it looked interesting, and Boruch Hashem it worked!"

Shidduch #216 - Shadchan Gitel Chaya Fogel. The Kallah reviewed the Choson's profile on the site before going out.

Shidduch #215 - The Kallah relates: "Having the profile on the site was definitely very helpful thorough the whole process of searching for my Bashert and with this specific match it was very good to have the information to see."

Shidduch #214 - The mother of the Kallah saw a profile that looked great for her daughter.  She spoke to references and when it matched up arranged the Shidduch.  They got engaged shortly thereafter.

Learning to Swim

In a Yechidus, the Rebbe got a sense that a visitor had difficulty with commitments.

"Why aren't you married yet?" the Rebbe asked, kindly.

"I don't feel like I'm ready for marriage," the young man replied.

"Getting married is like learning to swim," the Rebbe replied. "You don't learn to swim by reading a book about swimming; you have to jump in the water. The same is true about marriage; you learn about marriage by being married."



Picture Imprefect

By: Tiferet Schafler, Jewish Press

Pictures have always played a role in shidduchim. Years ago, and even today in communities where Internet and social media aren’t widely utilized, people looked for a girl’s yearbook picture, and mothers and grandmothers would carry pictures of their children in wallets to show shadchanim at weddings or other events, says Baila Sebrow, a shadchan and dating and relationship coach in various Jewish communities for over 35 years who also runs her own singles events.

“A common argument for the initial inclusion of shidduch pictures with resumes was: If someone can Google me to see what I look like, at least let me give them a nice picture I want them to see,” Elefant says.

There’s no clear trajectory of an exact point in time when pictures became necessary and standardized, but Nechama Sherman, a shadchan in Chicago, says that these days “if you don’t send a picture with a resume, you’ll automatically get a ‘Where’s the picture?’”

Beth Guterman, a shidduch photographer in Monsey, suggests that for those who feel uncomfortable sending out their picture, one option may be to send a low-resolution picture, which is clear but inherently small so it cannot be enlarged to scrutinize. Additionally, she notes that a more modest option can be to send out a headshot similar to one that would be included as a LinkedIn image or in an employer’s directory.

Shadchanim interviewed for this article say that the majority of rejected shidduch suggestions are declined – by both male and female candidates – because of pictures seen beforehand. This is because the photos are generally looked at before the rest of the resume. “This is not just in Jewish shidduchim,” Saloff explains. “Think about how JSwipe or similar apps work: People swipe through pictures, and once they see a picture they like, then they’ll decide to read about them.”

Although it can be argued that pictures should not necessarily be eradicated from the shidduch process but rather downplayed as just one aspect of the person, Rebbetzin Dr. Efrat Sobolofsky, director of YUConnects, a matchmaking service for those in the YU community and others, sounds a cautionary note.

“We can’t underestimate the impact that the picture has on people, even if we try to say it’s not so important,” she says. “It can instantly make a person less excited about a date before they even meet the other person, or simply reject the shidduch.”

Because photos are one-dimensional and cannot convey the full context of the person, including their body language, tone of voice and personality, they are of limited use in determining whether someone will be attracted to the person or not, Sebrow points out. “Do you know how much time I spend just telling people the way a person’s picture looks is not necessarily how they look, or how you will perceive them, in real life?”

In some communities where Internet and social media are not as widely used and therefore finding a picture is not as simple, the mother may go to shul to see the prospective girl, and the father may seek out a glimpse of the boy. Although the primary goal in this case is still to see the person, in real life you see a more complete “image” of the person, including their body language, posture, and style of dress, says Sebrow. “When you see a person in person, that one physical trait that got emphasized in the picture de-magnifies itself in the larger context.”

Saloff notes that while we are visual beings, and it is natural to want to see how the person looks, the problem is that when you see the picture before you meet the person, you create a single image of who the person is. To combat the lack of context that a picture can create, while still trying to accommodate the interest in seeing an image of the person beforehand, some shadchanim who signed onto the Nix the Pix movement set the boy and girl up on a 20- or 30-minute Zoom date instead of sending their pictures.

“What this does is allow them to see each other, but as a whole, and without having to take the time to pick a location and drive out if one determines the other is really not their ‘look,’” Saloff explains.

Similarly, Guterman notes that she has heard of some people sending videos talking about themselves and sharing other information that would typically be on a resume. “This appeals to some people because you really get to see a 3-D image of the person and see them in action.”

Leah Namdar, a Chabad shlucha in Sweden and founder of, which helps shluchim with shidduchim for their children, relates that with her own shidduch, the shadchan showed her future husband a few seconds of a video where she was teaching a class. “I don’t think it was because of looks – but because the class being taught was one of his favorite sichos!”

Photos play a necessary role in certain contexts. Rebbetzin Sobolofsky explains that most online databases or matchmaking sites today, such as YUConnects, are geared toward serving thousands of people around the world, and therefore photos are used along with profiles to give members and matchmakers a “feel” for the person they are trying to match.

“If you’ve never met the person, it’s difficult to describe them to another person, not necessarily on an aesthetic level, but just to get a sense of who they are,” she says. Because sites use a combination of algorithms and matchmakers’ oversight, pictures and profiles help facilitate targeted match ideas for as many people as possible.

When you’re trying to match people from different states or even countries, often more information is needed to set up that shidduch because you need to give the person more motivation or reason to travel, Rebbetzin Sobolofsky says. Where a picture is necessary, it’s possible to utilize it but de-emphasize it – “It may not be completely realistic for a database, or for shadchanim working with certain populations or communities, to not use pictures, but it is realistic for the people behind it to be encouraging to not place so much weight on the picture.”

“A good picture shows more than a face: It shows a bit of personality, chein, a bit of who they are,” says Guterman, the shidduch photographer. Her goal is to bring out the natural aesthetic strengths of the singles she photographs by matching their eye color to a nice background, finding flattering angles, and most importantly, learning about their personalities. She speaks with the client beforehand about what they want to convey in the picture – for example, the quality of being friendly, positive, thoughtful, or kind.

Namdar believes that having the parents or shadchan see a picture can be an important tool. “It’s not about being pretty or handsome – it’s about what one sees in a face,” she says. “You may look for gentleness and soft nature or strength of character, simplicity or elegance… Are the clothes classic chassidishe levush or more casual? Today shadchanim can’t travel the world to see each person they are setting up, so these factors give direction.”

Mendel Meyers, a photographer in Brooklyn who specializes in weddings but has recently taken up shidduch photography, believes that what’s wrong with pictures isn’t the pictures themselves, but that people are evaluating them as more than just a single piece of information and overemphasizing them. What you see in a picture, he points out, is based on what you are looking for.

In the end, it may not be the pictures themselves that are causing trouble in the shidduch process, but the realities and challenges of today’s societal and cultural trends. “We can’t be too surprised if a person really wants pictures in shidduchim when typically, those [of us] with smartphones have almost every area of our lives documented by pictures,” says Rebbetzin Sobolofsky.

While the Nix the Pix movement focuses on de-emphasizing pictures, there are other areas of focus that do not necessarily lead to happy long-term marriages, she notes. “Some of us may shy away from resumes when we don’t think highly of the professions or earning potential of a candidate, of the schools the person attended, or even the professions of parents, family status, yichus, etc.”

Elefant has received backlash from mothers saying that with so many ideas and resumes coming their way, it’s overwhelming not to have a picture. Elefant believes this is because pictures have become “a crutch to lean on to make a decision of which person to go out with.”

Reliance on pictures may thus be part of a larger problem – a need to “streamline” the shidduch process, both on the part of shadchanim and shidduch candidates. Whereas years ago, mothers would call shadchanim to tell them about their children and the shadchanim would ask questions, write down information, and usually meet the single, today shadchanim receive many shidduch resumes, with pictures attached.

Resumes not only make it easy for a person’s information to be easily sent out but also to be broken down into components that are often scrutinized individually, as opposed to holistically. Sebrow laments what she sees as a decline in the time and effort put in by both parties – the shadchan and the single and his or her parents – which she sees as contributing to a higher rate of rejections of shidduchim than ever before.

“All resumes and pictures do is nix the opportunity, because it makes both shadchanim and the boy or girl think that they already have the information they need, without even putting in effort to try and get to know the person at all,” she says.

It is important that parents “sprinkle positive messages” throughout adolescence and the pre-dating years about the important qualities and values that really matter in a marriage, urges Rebbetzin Sobolofsky. “This is a great opportunity to have these important conversations [about what aspects of a person are important for marriage] and highlight values and traits that are important, such as a person’s character, shared values, how a person interacts with others and solves problems, instead of the external and situational factors that matter less.”

How you look at a picture, and other factors on a resume, has to do with chinuch, agrees Meyers. “How you educate your children in general is going to guide what they focus on in the shidduch process. If they know their parents value aesthetics, then naturally when they look at a picture, they are going to use the picture as a measure of that. But if they grow up valuing chein, happiness, etc., within a person, that’s what they’ll be looking for in the picture.”

Opportunity to Suggest a Shidduch

Ever had an idea for a Shidduch but weren't sure how to suggest it? You can submit the idea at and Shadchan Chava Richler of the ShluchimMatch office will look into it. Should the idea lead to a successful Shidduch, you will receive a portion of the Shadchan gelt.

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