Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shidduch Organizations

If you're reading this blog, chances are that you've been in touch with / heard of / dealt with Shidduch organizations. Over the years it went from few and far between to a couple, to a whole lot. Some have websites, some have pamphlets, others have databases, videoconferencing, web-conferencing, forms to complete, email lists, etc.
The last time I approached a shidduch group, was when I 'refreshed' their knowledge that I was still around and single and updated my info (well, basically, my age..) with them. So much the money and form completing has done me with that group. Then, at their bequest, they asked me to come down and meet with the group, so I traveled to meet them (again!) at their new office, where they gave me the whole 21 questions and some. Some of the women took notes, one grabbed a digital camera, the same names came up, one updated the online profile and guess what? Still nothing.
But my most recent experience with a shidduch group was a bit more odd.
Again, this time, I had been part of the group for quite a while and called to 'refresh' them about me and the fact that I'm still around, searching for my bashert. Then came the email request to send them the updated resume, which I did. After that came the automatic email to complete forms and upload them to an online database. When I clicked to upload, it brought me to a website with visa/mastercard icons. I was horrified-I mean, ya, I know, everything is a business these days, but exploiting my status as a frum girl, who is at the hands of a 'shliach' who just might happen to be them and asking for a certain amount, was....well....disgusting. In any case, I scrolled down to read the terms and noticed some text about them not being responsible where the info would go to. That was just enough to NOT make me want to send my info. This is my personal, private info. If this organization is going to charge money, and in their eyes, be 'professional', then (a) get yourself a proper website and (b) MAKE SURE that people's private info doesn't get into the wrong hands.
A couple of weeks/months later, I received an automatic email from same said organization asking me, again to fill in the info, etc. This time, though it came with a whole long megillah disclaimer and the fact that should said organization make a shidduch, a lump sum of $$$$ be paid, as per their Rabbonim, etc. This bothered me even more. When people pay shadchanus, they should be able to give whatever they can afford and feel is right. I honestly, don't believe that a group of Rabbonim can put one exact figure on a shidduch which is the same figure for many people, of many different ages, backgrounds, hashkafos, financial levels, etc. So, I did, what anyone like me would do-I clicked on the check mark next to my email and smiled....as I clicked 'delete.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

To Be, or Not To Be?...YOURSELF

After hearing this many times, I have (finally) decided to post about it.
Many shadchanim, professionals, family members, and even friends request them. Email them, send them, fax them, mail them. Even the people who know you best will ask for it. The people who you never even heard of will request it. It is sent all around the world, literally-your personal information. There is no one set template and therefore, because, what I claim to be-simple 'laziness' of people, the shidduch world has gotten to these resumes.
For those of you who can remember-think back just a few years ago-there was no such a thing. The shadchan or person 'redding' the shidduch would call, you would give them any information over the phone, they would write it and finished. Same thing when someone was 'redd' to you-you would get a pen and paper, or even your phone/laptop and jot down the info they gave you. But no siree folks, we have become lazy and everyone just wants the whole 411 given to them, on a silver platter.
Fine, so we all went ahead and drew up whatever a 'resume' was supposed to contain.
When I was first asked for one, I wrote down the exact info that I seek to know about a guy. The main stuff-names, age, shul, jobs, personality, schools, references, etc.
Lately, though, people have become picky, in their requests. I found that there were so many critiques about my resume. Either it was too much info, or not enough info. Some people wanted to remove items listed and others wanted to change info. It got to a point where a Shadchan who I never met, but spoke with on the phone, called to inform me that it was so well written and described me so well, she really got a feel for who I am and what I am looking for (YAY!)
But, this past week, I received a call about my resume, once again. The woman sorta knows me. The type you meet once a while, whilst running an errand for your parents, she smiles and gives you the elevator stare-you smile back awkwardly and leave as soon as humanly possible.
Anyway, she called to say that someone called her about me and she sent my resume, but there were certain items on the resume she felt I should remove. I was annoyed by this, especially as it was describing my personality and who I was and my frumkeit. I told her I was not willing to 'leave out' things about me, and this is who I am, I am not out there to lie, or deceive people. If they don't like it, tough.
She, on the other hand, went on a whole rant about how the shidduch world is a game these days, and how you havta do whatever has to be done just to get a guy to agree, etc. I was totally disgusted with this attitude, but it didn't shock me-I've heard it before from plenty of people. I am unlike alot of people in that sense=I don't pretend to be someone else. This is who I am-this is me, you don't like it-great, another guy crossed off my list. I don't wanna waste anyone's time. And, because this is who I am, this is what I appreciate in a guy-honesty, straight outright openness, no faking who you are. Just BE yourself.
Turns out, I found out later on, that the woman went ahead and modified my resume, removing whichever parts of my personality, she felt would not appeal to the guy. Guess what, though? the boy got hold of my REAL resume and said no, based on my personality. So who was right in the long run? Had he only received the modified version and agreed to go out with me, and umpteen dates later, found out about the real me and who I am, he would've been upset that he was deceived, I would've been annoyed that he never knew that-when I have an outright say on my own resume and it would've wasted both our times and emotions.
So, I say to all you people=TO BE yourself, your TRUE self, is the correct, ethical and responsible way to go about shidduchim.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Im Yirtzeh Hashem by Me-Poem

I wish to thank Liba, for sending me this poem which was featured in this week's Yated Ne'eman, Reader's Write section.
I don't know who wrote this but I hope I have your permission to reprint, as it is too amazing to not...

"Im Yirtzeh Hashem by Me"
I am anxious to get married
I am waiting
for the day
when the sun will shine brightly
on me
and it will be
my turn.


I am
always on edge
in between
Not yet...
Waiting for that magic wand
That will make me whole.

I pray for marriage
Knowing that it is the answer
it is the only
The right
To all that is wrong
with me
Because being single
represents a problem
A deep-rooted deficiency
Within me

They tell me

Otherwise I wouldn't
still be
after so many years

I am waiting
Because I know
that marriage is the ultimate prize
The highest praise
The greatest confirmation
Of one's worth-

of all that I am not.

I am waiting for the day when I will finally have that magical ring on my finger
That will turn me from
the social sadness
that I am,
the tragedy,
A representation of the breakdown of society and its values
Into a person
and worthy.

I long for marriage
and the rights that come with it,
I am waiting
Knowing that when it comes
I will finally be seen as an adult
And be taken seriously
a person
From that day forward
My views will be considered
My interests respected
My existence validated.

I am waiting,

to no longer have to justify my life choices
to be able to make decisions
say yes or no
when I want
based on what is right for me
Because until then
Until I have a man behind me backing me up,
My voice is discountable,
background noise
A maybe-
It doesn't really count

I am waiting
to get married
longing for the day
When I will no longer have to face the pity
and pity-saturated questions
At every wedding
evening dinner
grocery store encounter
and telephone call
"Are you okay?"
"Who are you going with?"
"You were alone?"
"By yourself?"

I am waiting
for the day
when I will no longer have to nod
project shame
alleviate your worries
ease your fears

and then...
"It's okay"
"It will be okay"
"Next will be you"
"You are so special, I just don't understand what is wrong"

They tell me

I am waiting to get married so that
I will no longer be considered a child
The child you see me as now
one who could not possibly understand.

On that day
I will no longer be lumped together
With all the rest of the unworthy
Social derelicts
dragged along
included or excluded
A child
subject to the wills and wants of surrounding adults.


I am waiting for the day
When I will be married
And then my home
will be considered a "real home"
And not just an apartment,
a temporary holding
not worth investing in
caring for
or visiting.

I am waiting
For my space to remain my own
to no longer have to justify it
or give it up
and disperse it
To adults
To people
The married
Who deserve it more
Because space - both physical and emotional-
Is reserved only for them.

They tell me

I am waiting for the day
when my personal life will remain personal
And not be the open book,
the open topic of discussion that it is
Subject to comment and criticism
persistently chipping away at,
and annihilating
my own will,
deferring my existence,
its truth,
its light,
its validity,
its beauty,
to some far off day
when a man will finally be able to step in front of me,
validate me
make me

I am waiting
To get off stage
and stop performing
for others
So they get the picture of me they need
in the right boxes
With the right trimming.
I am waiting

Exit stage left,
Free at last

For only then
You tell me
can I start my life
And break free from the shackles that confine me.
Until then I am waiting
In limbo
Warned not to make any decisions
Or life plans
To wait
To keep my dreams on hold
my power in check,
my existence tamed
strategically displaced,
For one day my husband may want something else.
One day his desires may clash noisily with my own,
so better to wait,
turn out the lights,
get used to the darkness,
shutting myself off
shutting myself out of

Any day now...

To say what I believe
to act freely on my values
Use my power
create change
To live my life
in my way
through my knowledge,
loving curated from all of my days
deep self-knowledge,
to be who I am
and develop the person who I was meant to be
who I cannot be
you tell me

From judgment
Off stage
no critics.

I long
to be allowed to experience the joy
I live now
Without justification
or excuse
I am waiting for the day
when I don't have to convince you
that yes
I am in fact

I am waiting
For my life to be taken seriously
My experiences
And growth
To be seen
And respected
Not in relation to my marital status,
not in relation to another human,

I am waiting
To be seen
And to be allowed to see myself
for who I am
and not for what you think is missing.
I am part of a community that sees marriage as the be all and end all
the ultimate secure status
that solidifies one's worth within society.
Who I am as a person is irrelevant,
they say to me.
G-d's plan for me is meaningless,
they mean

I am constantly taught
That at the end of the day,
I am not a person.
I am not a woman.
I am not even a "single woman."
Who I am is: Not Yet Married.
And when they tell me, "Soon by you"
I must say full-heartedly, "Amen"
Because I know that when magic happens for me
In my universe
When my stars line up,
And I have repented for all my sins
and I have gotten the evil eye removed from my midst
and I have made peace on earth,
as perfect here as it is in heaven,
And repaired all of my deficient relationships
and I have asked forgiveness from all whom I am wronged
In this life and past lives,
When I have made peace with heaven
completed all of the rituals
and I have prayed
And swayed
And pleaded
Shacharis, Minchah, Maariv
every day
For forty days
All the songs
The pleas
And thank yous
This time by me -
Only after
I have given charity
and done all of the good deeds
From rabbi to rabbi
Help me
Fix what is wrong
Because if I was right
if my existence meant anything at all
I would be married already.
Only after
I have done all of these things
that you ask of me
Perfected myself
As only married people are
Only then will I be whole

So yes,
If I were to give in
Surrender myself
to you
Im yirtzeh Hashem by me
Because only then
Will you let me
be free
be me.

signed-Not Yet Married, An Individual

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Top Ten ways to say 'He's NOT for Me'

1. Thanks, but I don't think he's my type

2. I'm looking for someone more....y'know.....

3. Him? Oh, I know a girl who would be PERFECT for him.

4. Isn't he married??? OOOHHH, he WAS married.....Right.....ummm....

5. Sounds interesting (if the person suggesting is REALLY pushy)....lemme think about it

6. I'm looking for someone working

7. I don't know how to say this politely, but I don't date guys who date guys

8. Oh, he's working now? great.....I decided I think I need someone learning

9. He's really a great guy, but maybe he's too good for me

10. It's mamish 100% totally nish.....we don't shtim.....not shayach!

The 'But' Factor

This post has been inspired by 'unknown woman', who just recently phoned my house and informed my parents that she heard they have a single daughter and she has a Shidduch in mind for said single daughter, aka, ME. Oh, and before she went on to her shidduch idea, she then asked my parents for my name and my details-lol! that should give you enough insight as to this post.
My parents, Bless their hearts and souls, gave her my name and told her before they go on further to describe the boy who she has in mind for me.
"Well", she said, "he's a great boy, a really good guy from a wonderful family, there is only one little thing" always a 'but factor' issue comes in>.."the boy was married."
But folks, this (the fact that he was married) was clearly not the 'but factor' for this woman, as she continued;
"the thing is her 'but factor' comes into play> it was only for a very short time.
AND it wasn't HIS fault".

So folks, this convo has now inspired me for my next post (see above): The Top Ten Ways to say 'He's not for me"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hearts, Chocolates, Roses Galore!

Happy Valentines Day y'all!
yup, can you imagine, the time has come where all those red hearts and roses and loads of chocolate are piled out there and in a in your face sorta way?
I must say, it gets annoying after a while, I mean, don't get me wrong, I LOVE chocolate, and honestly, as my good friends will attest, there is no way I can walk into any store, or down any aisle without pressing the 'squeeze me' stickers on each stuffed animal holding the rose/heart/choc. However, when ur single and in 'the game' for so long, it just tends to get well...annoying.
Yes, the ChickLits, the RomComs, they're sweet, and great to read/watch, but when your love life is well..NIL, having a whole day of dedicated to the Love of your Life and getting/giving gifts to them, or all those around you doing same, is rubbing it in.
For me, the Frum aspect of this is Vorts/engagement parties/weddings. It's all about the couple being lovey dovey, newly engaged/married and in your face. Only its ONE couple that everyone is celebrating and making a fuss about. Imagine if there was an annual group anniversary for all frum couples=there would be no room for us single folk.
So, on a day where many a couple are celebrating, or eating out, or enjoying some kinda romantic, cheesy outing/gift/film, etc. here's to all of us single folk, sitting alone infront of their pcs, eating the last chocolate from the box.....alone....
Hope next Valentines, the chocolate will be from ur hubby :D

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tribute to Ayelet Galena A"H & her AMAZING parents

Warning: this post will not be about Shidduchim.
I am saddened, and heartbroken about the news that hit me like a ton of bricks, just a week and a half ago.
You see, like many of you readers, I receive the 'please say tehillim for..' and 'FW: TEHILLIM FOR...' emails and forward them to my contacts, many times without even scrolling down to read. However, when the first email about Ayelet appeared in my inbox, it was very descriptive and had some images of this pure, beautiful toddler with the big blue eyes smiling at the camera and after reading about this 1 year old and the search for a bone marrow match that her parents had spread word about, I couldn't help but NOT follow up about. So, I clicked on the link to their Facebook Fan Page and every so often would check for updates. I would continuously send out emails to say Tehillim, and from then on, a regular forwarded tehillim email, became part of me. I felt, well, like a 'fan'. After reading about what she went through that day, and the sometimes, humorous posts from her parents, I learned alot from these amazing people. Like most, I didn't know these people, yet, by them sharing what they were going through with thousands of people, I felt like I did know them.
Hindy & Seth, the parents of precious Ayelet A"H, are amazing. They kept up their strength and courage and put on their brave smiles. They kept he world up to date all the time. Anyone from anywhere around the world was just able to click on their blog and get up to date info, and sometimes even a photo of what Ayelet and her parents were going through.
And, so, when I received the email a week and a half ago, about a funeral to take place, my heart skipped a beat. I was...heartbroken to say the least. These people, these young parents, and this beautiful baby, became part of my life. Look at what they went through?! Look at how much they have suffered, at how far they have come. They found a match, Ayelet got the bone marrow, and despite all odds, she pulled through each and every time! She had just recently turned 2 and they let her go home to celebrate like a REAL 2 year old (minus the facemasks) and everything was look as good as possible. In fact, the last post that night was that so far she is stable.
I, a Frum single girl, who spends a good chunk of her time, poking fun at/complaining about/emailing/speaking, ranting about Shidduchim, the Shidduch crisis, Shadchanim and horrible dates (in the sense of GUY and actual DATE), how can I even complain about just a pesky small thing, when this 2 year old girl has been through soo much suffering. Her parents have gone through a tremendous amount of time spent in hospitals, at doctors, at her bedside, etc. What they would go through to have their child back. People, this is a wake up call. We need to appreciate all that we have been Blessed with.
We have our parents=Baruch Hashem for that
We have families=Baruch Hashem for that
Our families care about us (yes, even those annoying times, when they care too much) Baruch Hashem for that
We have friends=Baruch Hashem for that
Our friends would move worlds for us=Baruch Hashem for that
We are healthy=Baruch Hashem for that
We are happy=Baruch Hashem for that
We actually HAVE dates (even if they suck sometimes)=Baruch Hashem for that
We are safe=Baruch Hashem for that
Shadchanim are calling our house to set us up (even when they are such a nuisance)=Baruch Hashem for that

We are not suffering, our kidneys work, our hearts are beating, we are healthy, yes, we are single, but we are happy, we have families, we have friends. Think of Ayelet, and if you haven't already seen/heard/read about her, check out her website 'Eye on Ayelet' or visit her Facebook page, trust me, you will come to appreciate life. You will be happy with the small things in life. You will see that stupid things that bother(ed) you will not matter to you anymore.
This child endured such a tremendous amount of pain, she went through what no 1 year old should go through, her parents lived through all this with her, and tried to be as 'normal' as possible throughout-but they weren't normal, they were spectacular, they were unbelievable, they are true, honest, humorous, believeable, inspiring parents. We have aLOT to learn from them. Young people, thrown into parenthood, thrown into crisis, thrown into emergency situations. They got to work, they spread the word, they did all they can do. People's lives have changed because of them. I know mine did.
And so, comes this post. I feel it necessary to share this with all of you, because maybe like me, after reading about this story, you will understand why I am soo affected by this. Her loss, is devastating and has left thousands saddened. But her life was truly inspiring, and what they went through and how they lived through it is truly uplifting (to say the least)

May we all know of only Simchas and never know of such pain, heartache and suffering.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Leather Debate

OK, so here goes my issue for the day...well, it's actually been an off/on issue for the past few weeks but today I decided to post.
So, by now y'all know me-the single, Bais Yaakov-type girl, heimishe/Hungarian background, frum, with it, worldly, etc. I don't hide who I am, I wear jean skirts, I go skating, play ball, ride bikes, participate in sports, watch tv, use the internet, listen to the radio, goes to shiurim, goes to Shul, says the daily perek shira, the Shabbos Shir Hashirim, etc.
So, here's the deal-I saw this really nice jacket at a store I frequently shop at. The jacket was totally me, in every sense. It was funky, stylish, frilly but not-to-girly, short, but not-to-short, and a light beige/pink color. It had little 'cut outs' all along the bottom frill of the jacket, and the sleeves had the same. The only issue was that the jacket was.....leather.
So normally, I get it, leather is 'prust', it's like biker-type, or worse, think punker-leather collars with spikes, handcuffs, etc.
But this jacket looked 'aidel' in comparison. It looked cute, it didn't look like 'OMG-did you see what SOS was wearing......I can't believe SHE is wearing leather....I didn't think she was at THAT level.....I thought she was soo much more Frum than that....'
I felt guilty even THINKING about buying it. So I tried it on, of course, they didn't have it in my size (min hashamayim-right?) and I figured I would think about it and I can always go to another store to get it.
I spoke to my friend Ruchie about it and she had the reaction as per the above. Now, Ruchie is totally normal and openminded and knows me well. I tried to describe the jacket-but she couldn't get the 'black leather' look out of her mind. At the same time, since we both went to Bais Yaakov school, I asked her why we felt this way about it-it wasn't something particularly discussed in school. Yet, we were always taught not to judge a book by its cover, but when dating, or even as we get older, we tend to judge people by their looks, their attire, their style. So the way you dress sorta shows your personality. If you wear a skirt above your knee and short sleeves, it sorta tells people about your religious level. If you wear your tzitzis out for all to see, that shows people you are at a certain level as well.
So what does it mean if you wear leather?
To be honest, my mom wears a leather jacket (no, not the biker kind!) and no one ever said anything to me, nor have I thought anything wrong with it. I'm just wondering why I feel this way. What's the deal with leather?