By Dvora Schulman, Vice President, Shidduch Group Network
Over forty women gathered at the Annual Chicago Shidduch Group Conference on Sunday, July 27th/Tammuz 29 to learn, network, gain inspiration, and guidance in their journey of making shidduchim.
Elana Bergovoy, President of the International Shidduch Group Network welcomed women and post-seminary girls to an evening packed with fun and practical direction in guiding our children to the chuppah. Mrs. Bergovoy shared the story of how the Chicago Shidduch Group was formed with just a small group of friends nine years ago. Based upon Torah and the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the group’s activities led to engagements and has evolved into a global network. With chapters in over four dozen cities, the International Shidduch Group Network, now a tax-exempt 501(c)3 charitable organization, has had an important part in making hundreds of shidduchim since its inception.
The uplifting evening began with a dvar Torah by Mrs. Brocha Wolf of the Chicago Mitzvah Campaign. Raffle drawings, including a one day pass to the JLI Women’s Day Event, were sprinkled throughout and winners claimed a variety of prizes. Elegant table settings were featured by Rochel Bukiet, party planner and stylist extraordinaire.
The highlight of the evening was the sought-after guest speaker Mrs. Esther Friedman. Mrs. Friedman is an experienced shidduch coach and co-director of the Torah Learning Center and Director of the Jewish Women’s Institute in Overland Park, Kansas. With her in-depth knowledge of Torah, Kabballah and Temperament Theory, Rebbetzin Friedman has counseled and helped countless people in all walks of life, including those in the parsha of shidduchim.
Mrs. Friedman incorporates personal stories into her down-to-earth yet uncommon approach to shidduchim. She shared that when she was twenty-one, her father came to her with a suggestion for a shidduch. But first he asked her, “Is there anyone you’re interested in going out with?”
She emphasized the importance of trusting our children, because “then they will trust us and trust themselves.”
She enumerated over a dozen practical aspects to ensure a good shidduch, including approaches to reference checking, recommended duration and frequency of dating, the importance of a good shadchan as a go-between, and the need for a mashpia/coach with whom to process and explore any and all doubts/concerns that come forward. While the end goal is to make a dira b’tachtonim–to create a dwelling place for Hashem– Mrs. Friedman acknowledged that what we accomplish in a shidduch is greater than Kriyas Yam Suf, the splitting of the sea.