By Yehuda Ceitlin, COLlive Editor
Veteran teacher, counselor and author Rabbi Manis Friedman of Minnesota is continuing his “conversation series” to tackle internal issues concerning the Lubavitch community in Crown Heights that are currently not being properly addressed.
The topic this time? Shidduchim.
Following the success of last month’s “The Art of Living” lecture series (partially sponsored by COLlive.com), he was invited by known Shaddchanis Mrs. Raizy Edelman and others to address the complicated maze of matchmaking in the frum Jewish community.
In the lecture tonight (see details below) he will call out what he sees as the new practices and the wrong mindset in which single bochurim and girls are dating each other.
“What is happening today is that instead of looking for a spouse, they are looking for a friend,” he says in an interview with COLlive.com, explaining the thesis of his upcoming lecture, which is intended for parents of marriageable-aged children.
He says the problem is that today’s Lubavitch single is exposed to non-Jewish thinking and values. “They want unrealistic things and are not really ready to settle down, but are waiting for the person they’re dating to inspire them to get married – which never happens.”
As an example, Rabbi Manis questions the widely encouraged practice of keeping the Shadchan out of the loop after the second date, leaving the couple to directly communicate the times and location of dates and decisions about the future.
“That’s so wrong,” he states. “Without the Shadchan, how should they know if the other person is on the same page, what are their doubts and when to propose? I hear of bochurim telling the girl to her face why they are breaking off a shidduch and what’s wrong with her!”
So what does he suggest?
“There are definitely problems with the ‘Shidduchim process’ and we need to deal with them. But the solution is not less tradition but more tradition. It’s not working not because it’s wrong but because we’re not doing it right. Instead of another method, we need to do this one better,” he claims.
What does he think about the “singles event” recently held in Crown Heights?
“I’ve heard about it,” he said dryly.
“For the long term it’s not the solution,” he adds, not praising it, but not denouncing it either.
“There are already too many people not following the rules. The question is where we are going to go from there (the ‘singles event’). Some ideas sound good for a minute, but on second thought you see it differently. I think we need to make the system work. It needs help, and it can be helped.”
Rabbi Manis, who has been married 42 years, jokes that things were easier back in the day.
“If you had no excuse to say ‘no’ then it was a ‘yes.’ We dated to check if there was nothing wrong. Today it’s a completely different mentality where people date to find this type or that quality. It’s almost like marriage is second in importance.”
He said he does not expect any Shidduchim to come out of the evening, but is promising that parents will leave with a clearer mindset and attitude towards finding a shidduch for a child, friend or that great guy or gal they saw in shul last Shabbos.
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DATE: Tuesday night, December 14, 8:00 PM
LOCATION: Lubavitch Yeshiva hall on Albany Ave. and Crown St.
INFO: For parents. Light refreshments served. Entrance Fee: $10