Mrs. Sara Schachter, The Shidduch Center
We recently caught up with Mrs. Sara Schachter, long-time Executive Board member of The Shidduch Center of Baltimore, to learn about their excellent work.
In short, what is The Shidduch Center?
We are a true community organization, and our mission is to generate and facilitate dating opportunities for Baltimore’s single men and women. All of our efforts are focused with that goal in mind. Our door is also always open, warmly welcoming Baltimore families to approach us with any dating related needs, questions, or concerns.
What makes the Shidduch Center of Baltimore unique and special?
We exist solely to help our city’s single men and women. We were of the first communities, if not the first, to create this type of shidduch-centric organization. BH, other cities have recently created similar organizations. Most of them have consulted with us, and many of them are based on our model. We are proud that our community leaders and members understand the importance of making this objective a priority.
Does everyone on your Board have children in shidduchim?
Our Board ranges from volunteers whose children aren’t nearly old enough to date, to those whose children are all long married. The common denominator among us is a strong desire to address this vital need, and to be a part of helping our single men and women find their bshert, bez’H.
How does our community benefit from The Shidduch Center?
Thanks to tremendous siyata DiShmaya, we have set up over 1,200 couples on dates, resulting in 120 marriages for Baltimoreans. This 10% engagement-to-date ratio is of the highest among shidduch initiatives worldwide. We also present regular educational and chizuk events, and offer personal guidance and resources to hundreds of families each year, answering common questions regarding the process, and delicately working through major challenges when difficulties arise. Please visit www.shidduchcenter.org for a comprehensive view of what we offer.
How exactly are these results produced?
The brunt of those results come through our outstanding team of shadchanim (Mrs. Shani Leiman, Mrs. Tova Rappaport, Mrs. Keren Traub, and Mrs. Yocheved Strum), all of whom are employed by The Shidduch Center with the express objective of devoting their time and attention first and foremost to Baltimoreans. They each have quotas of production – far exceeding what they ever did before working for us – ensuring that we are constantly generating greater opportunity for our community, bez’H, and keeping our team members determined to work for our families on a daily basis. We also run various events every year, gathering dozens of local and out-of-town shadchanim to meet local daters; bringing 20-25 local shadchanim to Ner Yisroel bi-annually to meet bachurim; and our shadchanim sometimes travel to other cities to meet bachurim in different yeshivos. These events have been wonderful tools to augment the work of our team and have created many dates and engagements for our community.
Who provides oversight, leadership, and guidance for The Shidduch Center?
We have a profoundly dedicated Executive Board of Directors – Eliezer Portnoy is our current Chairman, past Chairmen are Steve Graber, Dr. Joel Pleeter and Chaim Wealcatch, and Sora Wolasky, Yitzie Pretter, Naftali Langer, Meyer Berman, and I all sit on the Executive Board. We also turn to our Rabbinical Board – Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer, Rabbi Moshe Hauer, Rabbi Dovid Heber, Rabbi Menachem Goldberger, and Rabbi Jonathan Seidemann – for crucial direction. And then there is our Executive Director, Rabbi Shlomo Goldberger. He is at the forefront of all that we do, and it’s his responsibility to ensure that we’re always active and growing.
How have you have seen The Shidduch Center evolve over the years?
I was involved before Rabbi Shlomo Goldberger was brought on, and have watched the organization truly soar to new heights, BH. Besides the many events, initiatives, and programs he runs, he makes himself available to any dater or parent who wants to meet, answering all manner of questions and concerns relating to shidduchim. He is now interfacing with about 150 local families each year. We have also been exploring different avenues over the years to better serve those in our community who have been in shidduchim for some time, and we hope to be inaugurating a new initiative in this area very soon, bez’H.
How can community members best connect with The Shidduch Center’s shadchanim?
Ideally, through the contact forms on our website, www.shidduchcenter.org/our-shadchanim/. However, we will soon be launching a new and improved system for connecting and staying in touch with our shadchanim. Bez’H, this will be an essential step forward in our development and ability to be there for our local families in shidduchim.
I understand The Shidduch Center is running a crowdfunding campaign on December 19th and 20th. What can our community do to help?
Indeed, we are. This campaign is our major annual fundraiser, and a great opportunity for community members to partner in our efforts to help Baltimore families. Please give generously, and encourage your friends to give. You have all made a tremendous impact with our prior campaigns, and the results mentioned above are only possible thanks to you, our generous community members. We’re counting on you this year, too. But more importantly, our single men and women are counting on you.