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Saturday, 13 Shevat, 5783
  |  February 4, 2023

About Those ‘Shidduch Reference’ Calls

Op-Ed by Rabbi Gershon Avtzon: It's time to talk about (an often unspoken) part of the shidduch process: The reference phone calls. It is an integral part of the process, as many shidduchim are made or dropped based on these phone calls. Full Story

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Don't waste your time!
November 26, 2022 7:50 pm

Before spending so much of your time (and of other people) on making phone calls, make sure that the one you’re calling about is interested in you.

Alot if people spend so much time on calling the references etc. And when you’re done and ask the person you were inquiring about if they’re even interested they say no, and you’re surprised…

So before you start doing calls ask if the other side if they’re interested in the shidduch idea, then make calls and see if it’s what you’re looking for….

resident
Reply to  Don't waste your time!
November 26, 2022 8:56 pm

Excellent point ! and its unfair to references to be spend time when there isnt any potential interest.

Give BOTH sides the name at the same time!
Reply to  Don't waste your time!
November 26, 2022 9:21 pm

I see no reason for one side to do all the research and give a yes when the other side hasn’t even heard the name. Let both sides hear the name at the same time and decide if they want to start researching.

I Disagree with Rabbi Avtzon on One Thing
Reply to  Don't waste your time!
November 27, 2022 8:01 pm

Before anything, I must thank Rabbi Avtzon for his insightful articles. They’re informative, persuasive, and compelling, and he addresses the issues we’re all afraid to discuss. Moreover, it’s a pleasant surprise he’s moved his writing from the Bais Moshiach magazine to the more mainstream collive. In the article, Rabbi Avtzon writes that callers should identify themselves to the references they call. He qualifies, however, that this expectation of identification applies only to married references, not to single ones. That’s pathetic. You should identify yourselves to anyone you call. If you expect them to trust you, you should trust them. And… Read more »

Please don’t do that.
Reply to  I Disagree with Rabbi Avtzon on One Thing
November 27, 2022 9:22 pm

A bochur once did that when I didn’t speak to him according to his judgement of what would be a good Shviger for his friend. Then that same bochur came up for my daughter and of course I wouldn’t consider him.

Prob not a good idea
Reply to  I Disagree with Rabbi Avtzon on One Thing
November 27, 2022 10:37 pm

While I agree that anyone calling should identify themselves to the reference-whether married or single-I think you should politely explain that you would rather not speak with them until they identify themselves. No need to tank the shidduch. You are not Gd

Helping others with shidduchim
Reply to  I Disagree with Rabbi Avtzon on One Thing
December 1, 2022 12:13 am

That’s ridiculous. Do you think that every woman who calls a reference is a potential shvigger? Maybe it’s an aunt, sister, grandmother, friend. Why should I identify myself when calling a reference? I just want to know information about someone. The reference just needs to given open and honest responses. There is no reason to say who the person is that I’m calling for nor what my relationship is to them.
I hope you re-think messing with peoples lives.

Additionally
November 26, 2022 7:57 pm

Personally I feel like references should be stopped. 1. A lot of References lie to kill the shidduch or they “steal ” the shidduch and give it to someone else 2. Tons of people know me but wouldnt want to “take the job” 3. Chabad has issues that they will only call getze references that they know the person. If its outside of chabad reference they will dismiss the reference even though later they find out through the cousins friends sisters neighbors grandmother that it was a great shidduch they lost “just because ” the reference wasnt chabad. 4. Chabad… Read more »

Did a 'non-chabad reference' write this?
Reply to  Additionally
November 26, 2022 10:40 pm

What a blanket defamatory post. You besmirch the entire movement for one bad experience which you think somebody may have experienced.

And what type of suggestion is meeting without references? So they should schedule to preview/facetime literally every name that comes their way without any background info? That’s possibly the most discouraging, and least productive way to find shidduchim. Please leave the sour attitude and senseless suggestions for another time and place. Thank you.

either that
Reply to  Did a 'non-chabad reference' write this?
November 26, 2022 11:16 pm

or just a bored bochur

Wow look at your own sourness
Reply to  Did a 'non-chabad reference' write this?
November 26, 2022 11:53 pm

And when its happens to you, cant wait to see YOUR reaction. Only one bad experience? Why ? You want to wait for everyone to have my experience? You can have the “regular ” way of shidduchim but then dont complain how the package came in.

Point 'C'
November 26, 2022 7:58 pm

I once was called as a reference and asked if I thought it would be a good match. I honestly didn’t think it was (I knew both parties), but I held my tongue, and just said that this isn’t something I felt I could comment on. Who am I to decide if their personalities would get along? There were no red flags, just the two people paired together made no sense in my brain. But my opinion didn’t matter, they went out and got married and are happy together. Why are we putting so much credence on one person’s opinion?… Read more »

You could not have stopped it
Reply to  Point 'C'
November 27, 2022 12:07 am

Nothing you could or would say would stop it,

If it’s the right match, then it would happen regardless,
But yes you should not say something like that, but don’t say if you would have said it, it would not happen

I hear you
Reply to  You could not have stopped it
November 27, 2022 9:26 am

I get what you’re saying, but there are shidduchim that are delayed (sometimes by years) because of things like this.

Additionally, just to be controversial, you’re operating under the assumption that people always marry their bashert.

It’s easy to say it always would have happened…when it already happened. The truth is, we don’t actually know what would happen if something was said.

Your emunah is stronger than mine, I’ll give you that.

why did eleizer put muzzzels on his sheep?
Reply to  Point 'C'
November 27, 2022 9:43 am

he knew it takes one behama to ruin a good shidduch

Great insight
November 26, 2022 8:14 pm

I always get the “he’s a great guy” response, to which I respond: “I’m also a great guy untill you get tto know me”. I ask the people to be more specific

Vi men fregt azoi entfert men
Reply to  Great insight
November 26, 2022 9:06 pm

You got a vague answer to a vague question

agree and disagree
November 26, 2022 8:19 pm

I was always against those “unknown callers”, but I don’t think it has to do with the reference being married or not, if you’re asking private questions, i should know who I’m talking to

Not so simple
Reply to  agree and disagree
November 26, 2022 9:15 pm

Usually people like to call anonymously since they know the references (especially if they’re friends) will let the other side know that so and so is looking into them. If they decide it isn’t a match, now it’s known that one side rejected the other.

Malka
Reply to  Not so simple
November 26, 2022 10:00 pm

My daughter is twenty and has been told by callers that they are trusting her to be confidential. Telling friends is immature. Why did my friend have to tell me my mother in laws unflattering questions..i felt so horrible after especially since we got married …

Think about it from the other side
Reply to  agree and disagree
November 26, 2022 11:50 pm

Usually if someone goes out with someone and it doesn’t work out, they don’t want friends k owing who they went out with. This is sometimes hard when they were a reference…

let me play out a scenario for you
Reply to  Think about it from the other side
November 27, 2022 6:40 pm

“Mrs. Cohen” calls me about my friend mushky for a potential shidduch, mushky goes out and it doesn’t work out, in the meantime:
1)i had no idea who Mrs. Cohen was looking for, her own child or someone else’s.
2)not necessarily do i know Mrs. Cohen to begin with
3)had no idea mushky went out bichlal
4)even if she did, i have no idea with whom
and the list goes on.
point being, you don’t lose anything by saying your name, and its only right to do so!

Very good article!
November 26, 2022 8:46 pm

Thanks for sharing these important points!

Joke calls
November 26, 2022 9:17 pm

You really expect a friend/reference to tell you if their friend has issues. Ya right

Malka
Reply to  Joke calls
November 26, 2022 10:00 pm

There are ways to ask a question! Be specific and read between their lines!

Umm
Reply to  Joke calls
November 26, 2022 10:04 pm

Did you read the article?

Surprise suprise
Reply to  Joke calls
November 27, 2022 7:40 pm

You’d be surprised how many friends give bad or non complimentary info. When inquiring into some references for my brother, quite a number of girls on resumes have said either silly things, bad info, disparaging info. I guess that is Hashems way of letting us know it is not for him.

Sam
November 26, 2022 9:17 pm

Well said, I agree with everything, except the part of calling your references to test them. You’re asking someone’s friend to do them a favor,so you need to trust them. Making a fake call to them is a betrayal of trust and kinda rude.

And questionable according to halacha
Reply to  Sam
November 26, 2022 9:45 pm

Ask your own rabbi

Malka
Reply to  Sam
November 26, 2022 10:01 pm

My Rav told me to do this! Ask and do what you’re told!

Checking your references are really important
Reply to  Sam
November 26, 2022 10:31 pm

No not true . I have called people who told me totally unrevelant information that could be used against someone or who told me I don’t really know her so well

Call references- I did
Reply to  Sam
November 27, 2022 8:21 am

I called as per request someone’s references and NOT ONE of them responded within 2 days. Not a message or call back . No wonder my friend was getting “no” from all the suggestions.

Chassidishe
November 26, 2022 9:47 pm

Serve Hashem with joy, fear nothing except Hashem and love every yid

Ah!
Reply to  Chassidishe
November 27, 2022 6:42 am

I like this description of a chassidishe yid!!
and it’s the most emesdike chossid

Bochur
November 26, 2022 10:04 pm

I’ve been a reference many times for friends and answered plenty and plenty of calls. The caller *always* qualifies what they mean by “chassidish”. I’ve never been asked “Do you think it is a good shidduch?”. This article is about things that don’t really happen

Kol hakovod
November 26, 2022 10:19 pm

Thank you Rabbi Avtzon fot putting this out into the open. The whole process is torture.

Always identify yourself
November 26, 2022 10:23 pm

Wether the reference is married or not one must identify themselves. It’s only basic respect for the person who regardless of their married status is being asked to share personal information.
When a caller refuses to identify themselves I refuse to share any information.

Identify??
Reply to  Always identify yourself
November 27, 2022 1:27 am

I have no issue talking to anyone if they wish to remain anonymous in this uncomfortable situation. I think I would like to remain anonymous thereby ensuring it doesnt get back to the other side. Why can’t everyone understand the sensitivity here

I heard a story
November 27, 2022 12:03 am

Someone complained to the Chazon Ish that a reference was giving him a bad name for shiduchim. The CI told him, when the right time comes, that person won’t be called. And that’s what happened.

Testing your own reference?!
November 27, 2022 12:06 am

1 why would you put someone you dont trust enough
Even more so:
2 what are you going to do when you dont like what they said? Are you goinf to confront them? What are you going to tell YOUR friend?, ;
-eehm listen, I dont like what you said about my children etc etc, because this and this told me you
– wait what this and this has to do with the whole thing?
-yeah he told me
– ??

You don't confront them
Reply to  Testing your own reference?!
November 27, 2022 8:24 am

You just take them off the reference list

Read the article
Reply to  Testing your own reference?!
November 27, 2022 9:03 am

The Idea is not to confront the person at all, rather to remove them from the official references. The parent should also be smart and not tell their child what their friend said. Many times the friend did not say bad things, just did not portray the child in best light or gave too much information.
Thank you for posting this important article.

A single in the system
November 27, 2022 12:08 am

I could write a whole article in response to this as shidduch calls are something I’ve done a lot of thinking about and recently concluded the following: I’m a big fan of doing research after the second date. If someone who knows both sides is setting the man and woman up, they must think there is something in common. If the the man and woman had a good time on their first date/coffee outing, they can do further research. We’re so afraid to send our children out on dates and this is hindering the process. I could go out with the man in… Read more »

Be very careful with your words
November 27, 2022 12:40 am

I was moved to respond to this even though I do not generally like anonymous op-eds as they can easily create misunderstandings. Years ago a shidduch never came to fruition. I was told that a ‘Big Lady’ in crown heights had incorrectly identified my mother to the boy’s parents as someone who was involved in a particular scandal. As a result the shidduch did not happen and the acquaintances who suggested it never ended up suggesting anything again. The problem is that although my mother and the woman she was mistaken for, shared the same last name, a very slight… Read more »

I admire your faith
Reply to  Be very careful with your words
November 27, 2022 12:03 pm

You resolved not to be bitter or blame that woman, but instead to use your experience to caution people against lashin hara and making snap judgments.

We have so much to learn from you!

May Hashem give you much hatzlacha in your life journey and may you experience ach tov vachesed for the rest of your days.

And..
Reply to  I admire your faith
November 27, 2022 7:42 pm

And her shidduch!

pinch
November 27, 2022 1:33 am

i feel like this article will influence so many ppl lives

Add to the article
November 27, 2022 1:47 am

Just want to add my two cents:

1: Ask SPECIFIC questions. People can’t answer general questions, such as “would you say he’s a good guy?”, or “what is his greatest strength?”. These are pointless, stupid questions, and you will get pointless, stupid answers.

Ask questions like “is he kind and considerate to others”? Does he lose his temper? When given a job, is he responsible?”

2. Prepare a list of questions that are most important to your child, and make sure they are specific. Don’t call without a prepared list or you will waste both parties’ time.

Current Reference
November 27, 2022 1:49 am

As a single, the information I get back about someone sometimes isn’t current because they knew the person 10 years ago or more. Please put people who know the single person now. It is a waste of time to find out they were like this at one point in their life but now it could be very different.

MRS PERL ARBOR
November 27, 2022 6:48 am

ALL THE ABOVE ADVICE IS A PROVEN TOTAL WASTE OF TIME… LETS CUT TO THE CHASE, YOU WONT GET AN HONEST ANSWER PHONING FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS THAT ARE ON A REFERENCE LIST AND HAVE BEEN PRIMED TO SAY WHAT THE PARENTS WANT THEM TO SAY. THATS WHY THEY WERE CHOSEN TO BE REFERENCES IN THE FIRST PLACE…..EVEN AVROHOM OVINU DIDNT TRUST THE MACHINATIONS OF ELIEZER! THIS IS MY BEST ADVICE FROM THE EXPERIENCE OF MANY…… 1) YES, MAKE SURE THE OTHER SIDE ARE EVEN INTERESTED IN YOUR CHILD BEFORE MAKING FRUITLESS ENQUIRIES, ESPECIALLY IF THEY ARE A GHEZE NAME,… Read more »

I'll have to contradict with #2
Reply to  MRS PERL ARBOR
November 27, 2022 9:52 am

All the time I get shidduch suggestions through HINTS from friends. Thinking that they know me and want the best for me that itll pull through. Oh wait I’m still single over 30. Shatchanim give you live people with a live resume. Friends from my experience are giving me “in the air” someone out there from another continent or universe that MAYBE it will be a match?! Seriously?!

reference calling can be used the wrong way
November 27, 2022 6:52 am

Someone called my doctor fishing for derogatory info about me. I was not looking for shidduchim. My doctor believed they had a shidduch for me and never got their name. There was nothing derogatory in my health records and my doctor told them that. But it bothers me that my doctor didnt see through it.

HIPAA violation
Reply to  reference calling can be used the wrong way
November 27, 2022 8:33 am

Your doctor isn’t even allowed to tell them you’re a patient of his let alone share information about a shidduch.

Situations like this is why HIPAA laws were invented!!

In crown heights
Reply to  HIPAA violation
November 27, 2022 3:40 pm

Nothing is private. Just one big happy family..

What?
Reply to  reference calling can be used the wrong way
November 27, 2022 8:40 am

Doctors are accountable to keep HIPAA privacy laws. No dr is allowed to discuss anything about your health with anyone unless you signed a release of info.

"Someone called my doctor fishing for derogatory"
Reply to  reference calling can be used the wrong way
November 30, 2022 9:55 am

“Someone called my doctor fishing for derogatory info about me”
I never even heard such a thing. If the doctor says anything they can lose their license to practice medicine.

Show Hakaros Hatov!!!
November 27, 2022 7:25 am

After you get engaged iyh say THANK YOU to the people who spent hours being reference

references
November 27, 2022 9:38 am

I didn’t read the comments, so maybe someone addressed this already. I always call my references before a potential shidduch date to let them know that they will probably get a call from so and so, for the following reasons. 1) To thank them in advance 2) to be prepared for the call, and put in the proper time and effort 3) some people will not agree with me, on this one. We don’t want our references to lose their patience, and get burnout. Sometimes, people get a profile, make calls, and keep someone on the phone for an hour… Read more »

Point 6
Reply to  references
November 27, 2022 1:35 pm

Why do you think everyone will disagree with you on this point? Bc it doesn’t make sense. Not everyone has married friends. And single friends are absolutely perfectly capable-they are people just like those married and have depth, seriousness, and experience. They are looking to get married just like the married ppl were.

reference
Reply to  Point 6
November 27, 2022 6:47 pm

Sorry,You did NOT understand my point,
I will not go into specific details, I am just trying to help, from my experience. Like I said, you don’t have to agree with me, but
I am actually stating this
as a FACT, and not as an opinion.
It is not appropriate on many levels, to call unmarried friends, especially today.And I am giving my piece of advice, only for your benefit, for your good.Not to say, that there are many amazing, and totally helpful conversations with single friends.Take it the way you like.

What?
Reply to  references
November 27, 2022 4:50 pm

#6 Married friends are not loyal and protective?

friends
Reply to  What?
November 27, 2022 6:23 pm

They sure are, but they understand much better, what has to be said, and what doesn’t. You know, I’m sure, that quite a few Rabbonim gave out protocols, as to what has to be said, and what doesn’t. I will not go into details, here.

Surprise surprise
Reply to  friends
November 27, 2022 7:54 pm

Actually, I’ve had equal amounts of silly info given by both married and unmarried. Just make sure whomever is on your reference list is mature and responsible

Testing References is explicitly against Halacha
November 27, 2022 10:05 am

I am almost 100% sure that I saw it paskened explicitly in Sefer Chafetz Chaim

Unless there are other poskim of which I am not aware, it is a straight-out aveira to call a shiduch reference just to test what they would say

Sometimes for the sake of finding your shidduch
Reply to  Testing References is explicitly against Halacha
November 27, 2022 1:29 pm

I had to test my references. My closest friend said things that were not nice and not even true.

I am thankfully married.

MRS PERL ARBOR
November 27, 2022 12:21 pm

#I’ll have to contradict with #2

Truly sorry to hear you haven’t found your bashert, but if you believe close friends and families, who know you well, and usually the other side as well, are not able to help you with ideas and introductions, why would shadchonim be better solution who probably hardly know you or the other side that well, except what they have been sent from a long list of names sitting in their files??

Replying
Reply to  MRS PERL ARBOR
November 27, 2022 12:57 pm

It hurts more when it’s family and friends who are suppose to be there for you behind your back and they aren’t. Shatchanim are strangers who dont owe you anything so I dont expect much from them. But at least I’m getting a name with a resume vs. A make believe person with no information AND I might not even want that bochur… again, my experience.

Testing
November 27, 2022 6:59 pm

Unfortunately very well meaning people, sometimes,TOTALLY RUIN SHIDDUCHIM. I had with 2 children, very close people. With each child it was a different scenario. The split second I took them off the reference calls, each in their time, they started getting actual Shidduchim. As long as these certain women, were on the resume, nothing materialized. It also came back to me through various avenues, what these 2 women were saying. (which wasn’t even true) So if you suspect that a certain reference is an obstacle to you, take them off immediately, or test them. I would highly suggest eliminating them,… Read more »

Puzzeled
November 29, 2022 9:55 am

I don’t see the point of all the references. When the couple actually sits down together face to face usually within 5 minutes they know if they like each other.

A Crown Heights family....
November 29, 2022 10:14 am

A young man, a good friend of my family, asked my married daughter if she thought a particular young lady who had been suggested to him would be a suitable match for him. I believe he had actually met the young woman. The young woman had been a high school friend of my daughter, but they had not stayed close post high school. My daughter thought for a moment, then said she “didn’t see” them together. Current situation: The young man married that young lady and they have b’h several children. I’m in touch with the fellow, and he and… Read more »

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