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How do you determine who's good for who?
Similarities. If they're similar, that's a good Shidduch.
What are similarities?
Jewish. If they're Jewish. That's a similarity.
And that's it?
Yes. You tell them they're a Jew. They go on the date and they're married.
That's it? Just Jewish?
Jews are very similar.
In what way?
Do you do research?
I study. I’m a history buff.
Do you ever see anything unique in the Shidduch resumes?
Jewish. I see if they're Jewish. If I see 'Jewish' on their Shidduch resume, I know I can set them up. They're a good potential Shidduch for a Jew.
But you work in Israel too. So many different kinds of Jews in Israel.
That's what makes it hard. I don't consider Olim that live in Ramat Beit Shemesh to be Jewish.
What are they?
So, how do you set them up?
I don't. I set up their parents.
If their parents say yes, they get married.
How do the parents know what the kid wants?
The parents tell me their kid wants a Jewish boy.
What do the kids want?
I talk to the parents.
How would you figure out if they're good in Israel, with so many Jews?
Sometimes, I have to concentrate the people. Though I am not a racist, I have to divide them.
How do you do that?
If they both speak English. English.
But so many people speak English in Israel. That doesn't seem to bring down the numbers very much. It must be hard.
Then how do you limit the options?
I go by the first names I get. First names sent to me, if they speak English and they're Jewish, they're getting married.
How do you know it's right?
God. God creates Shidduchim.
Then what are you doing?
Figuring out who's Jewish.
Doesn't God know who's Jewish?
It's a complicated matter.
Do you feel reward when you set up a couple and they get married?
Yes. When I get the money.
I expect at least a thousand dollars from each side.
How do you charge?
Customer satisfaction is key. If they get married, they pay. Usually with credit card. I prefer cash. When they pay with credit cards I add on a 5% service charge.
Not all marriages are good.
That's why they pay before the wedding. After the wedding customer satisfaction goes down. I'm selling weddings.
100% customer satisfaction till the wedding. After that, there are no returns. No money back after the Chupah. That's why I get a copy of all marriage documents.
When they come back telling me how painful it is, and how much Jewish day school costs, I have proof.
Do you work with the Shidduch resume?
I’ve found many single people good jobs.
Isn't the resume for finding people a match?
If I was a boss, I would like to know who the person is attracted to. Hobbies and if they want kids is also important.
Do you use it for anything else?
Bone marrow transplant donor match opportunities.
What do you think about Pinchas and Reuven?
Those guys live in Topeka. No chance.
Then how will they meet somebody?
I'll set them up.
They've dated every Jewish girl in Topeka.
That was when they thought they had a chance. Do they speak English?
If Pinchas and Reuven are Jewish and they speak English, I'll make it happen.
Rachel Shifra, the matchmaker, works off Jewish. That’s her one requirement. She interviews the singles and finds out if they’re Jewish. If they're Jewish that's how you know it's a good Shidduch. If she finds out they’re Bahai, she knows it won’t be a good Shidduch. Just Jewish. Her job is to set up Jews with Jews. If she finds out you’re Christian, she sends you to Mariah, her Christian matchmaker friend. I met up with Mariah. Her method of fitting people together is if they’re Christian. If they’re Christian, she sets them up.
I found out Rachel Shifra set up Pinchas with a girl from Sydney. I asked how it will work. She told me, 'They both speak English. And they're Jewish.'
The Jewish and English-speaking method breaks down Shidduchim to a basic level of success. That's how she figures out who's good for each other. Then, she brings them down and they get married.
In the following interview, she explained the importance of ensuring that the single people are down on themselves. She discussed at length how you have to let the people know they have no chance.
The no chance of meeting somebody technique works. I started using it with some of the local singles and they are happy to meet anybody now. I tell them that they're pathetic and they have nothing positive to show for, and then they listen to me. I’ve got four people married in two months, letting them know how pathetic they are. But first, I checked to make sure they spoke a decent English.
I have never seen people so grateful to have a spouse. I think I can be very good at setting people up. I just have to get better at letting the single people know how unimportant they are. I feel that after they meet with me they still have too high of levels of self-esteem.
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The Falafel of Etan
Israelis are very possessive of their falafel. Even when they have a shop, they don't like to share it… That's Etan. Standing over them while they eat. Making sure they don't run away with his falafel.