Sunday, September 24, 2017

Growing up in Sunnyside, Queens, in the 1950s, most of my friends were children of Holocaust survivors. Some had even been born in displaced persons camps after the war. These young ladies were my inspiration and taught me lifelong lessons in determination, doing one’s best and giving back to the community. One special young lady, my BFF from age 2, stands out from the rest in her unequaled emunah and proactivity on behalf of our people. In 1985, she created the L’Chaim Shidduch Organization with the mission of helping to restore a portion of the 1.5 million young victims of the Holocaust. Through the facilitation of blessed marriages within the Jewish community, her hope was to perpetuate future generations. To date, the L’Chaim Shidduch Organization has brought to fruition hundreds of marriages resulting in the births of myriads of children and grandchildren. L’Chaim’s ongoing mission is to join forces with the Almighty in “creating new lives.”

Bi-annually, the L’Chaim Shidduch Organization hosts marathon shidduch meetings throughout the US, Canada, Israel, Europe and Australia. These marathons take place from Rosh Chodesh Shevat through Tu B’Shevat and from Rosh Chodesh Av through Tisha B’Av. These efforts are expedited by volunteers who organize and conduct meetings in accordance with the needs of their particular communities. Singles from backgrounds including Yeshivish, Chassidish and Modern Orthodox are represented by proactive relatives and friends who network on their behalf at the meetings. Participants who are familiar with the challenges that singles and second-time singles confront attend meetings with an openness to wide-ranging suggestions. Meaningful matches are brought to fruition by going beyond stereotypes and focusing on the essential character of those they are presenting.

Communities such as Lakewood select one day during the Nine Days to host all of their meetings within multiple geographic sites. Recently, an expanded alternate model was innovated to accommodate the ongoing growth of the greater Monsey community. Numerous meetings, focusing on particular categories and age groups, are held on different days in various locations. With this new model, which is bringing shidduch meetings into new neighborhoods, the number of people in attendance has grown exponentially, thus allowing for increased networking opportunities.

Shidduchim brought about through the efforts of L’Chaim range from traditional to out-of-the-box. At a 2017 Shevat Bi-annual Shidduch Meeting, a participant representing her single sister took note of all the singles being presented. She was thus able to facilitate a match between a young man presented at the first meeting and a young lady presented at a second meeting the following evening. The result was the happy marriage of two singles of similar backgrounds, both in their mid-20s, hailing from Monsey and Flatbush—a traditional match. An Ashke/Sefard shidduch brought together a Bucharian young man from Flatbush and an Ashkenazi young lady from Lakewood. For second-time singles, through the efforts of a visionary octogenarian shadchan, an elderly out-of-town divorcee of Yekkish background was introduced to a broad-minded senior Chassidishe gentleman from Brooklyn, also previously married. Their joyous chasuna took place in Shevat to the delight of their respective families.

This year’s L’Chaim Bi-Annual Global Community Nine Days Event will take place from Rosh Chodesh Av, July 23, through Tisha B’Av, August 1. L’Chaim needs your help to ensure its continued success. They invite you to assist them in “creating new lives” for the perpetuation of Klal Yisroel.

To organize a shidduch meeting in your community, please provide L’Chaim with the following information: name or group name; contact information including phone numbers, email and/or fax; date, location and time of meeting; and categories and ages to be presented.

The L’Chaim Networking Directory of Volunteer Shadchanim 2017-18 will be completed shortly. Information about volunteering as a L’Chaim Shadchan, or regarding Nine Days Meetings and “How to Set Up a Shidduch Meeting,” will be available on their website at www.lchaimshidduch.com, by email at [email protected] or by calling 845-323-9041.

By Pearl Markovitz