By COLlive reporter
The New York Times touts Yocheved Lerner-Miller, a frum resident of Brooklyn’s Kensington Neighborhood as the go-to shadchanis for the “misfits” in the Chabad-Lubavitch community in Crown Heights.
Meeting with Times reporter Marisa Meltzer at the Chocolatte coffee shop on Eastern Parkway and Kingston Avenue, Lerner-Miller called Crown Heights her “shtetl.”
Lerner-Miller earned a reputation for pairing up the “misfits and outliers” such as the divorced, the middle-aged, the newly religious, the Times wrote.
“I deal with divorced people,” she said. “I deal with older singles who are already in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. Sometimes they’re just people who somehow missed the boat, or they’re converts.”
The Brooklyn-born Lerner was born into a secular Jewish family in Brooklyn. After graduating with a master’s degree in educational administration, she worked as an E.M.T. and a music teacher in public schools.
Her path to matchmaking began when as she was in her late 40s as a single mother of a child. A friend suggested she find a shadchan, but “that was a pretty tall order. Are they hidden? Do they advertise in the Yellow Pages?”
After meeting a frum man through an over-the-phone matchmaker and then getting married, Lerner became a matchmaker. She says it was her way of “saying thank you to G-d was to try to help others be as happy as he made me.”
Before making a shidduch, the Times reported, Lerner thinks about degree of religious practice, family background, if they want to go to foreign countries — Lubavitchers often travel to promulgate the religion — and personality.
Asked what is the secret to finding love and maintaining a happy marriage, Lerner-Miller says it’s more complicated than a single aphorism.
“There has to be something — a tugging of a heart. Something has to say, hey, you’re good for me and I’m good for you,” she said.
“It’s not just, I’m here to have a great old time, me, me, me, me. It’s you, you, us. And that’s the whole secret to it. It takes you out of yourself, it gives you the reason to feel and deal with the needs of another person and, hopefully, children will be wonderful, and to put you out into the community at large. There’s a dignity to it.”