We recently spoke with Rabbi Shlomo Goldberger, Executive Director of The Shidduch Center of Baltimore, for an update on their excellent work in our community.

What exactly does The Shidduch Center do?

While it is difficult to encapsulate the totality of our efforts in one succinct paragraph, in brief, our primary goal has remained constant for nearly a decade. Namely, to explore every possible avenue that will result in increased opportunities for the single men and women of our community. And, as an accompaniment, we strive to offer as many shidduch-related resources as possible; such as, hadracha, education, chizuk, a dating game g’mach, and a comprehensive list of places to date in the Baltimore/Silver Spring/D.C. area.

How is that goal met for the families of our community?

Our foremost effort has always been our team of Dedicated Shadchanim. Boruch Hashem, from employing three Baltimore shadchanim in 2015, we presently employ nine on-staff shadchanim spread across Baltimore, Silver Spring, Passaic, and New York. Accordingly, bez’H, we have grown from setting up under 100 different couples annually, to being on pace to set up 300 couples this year, and we have seen 158 resulting community shidduchim from our efforts.

But wouldn’t these shadchanim have set up those couples anyway? 

That is an excellent question, and one which is asked frequently. In short, the answer is no. Our goal has never been to identify established shadchanim, compensate them, and then take credit for their work. Quite the opposite. We intentionally seek out shadchanim who have been dabblers, setting up couples when they can, and work to develop them into full-time professional shadchanim. All of the wonderful shadchanim who have been on our team for many years, and whom are now rightfully recognized as prolific shadchanim, simply would not and could not be doing what they are doing if not for our development of their craft. And those whom are newer to our team, it is our hope that, in time, they will also become recognized as eminent leaders in the field, bez’H.

Fascinating! How do you develop your shadchanim into such powerful resources?

The recipe really is multi-layered. Of course, any shadchan who hopes to achieve notable volume must meet a great many daters. Thus, we hold multiple events each year for shadchanim to meet our single women, and, correspondingly, we bring our shadchanim to meet bachurim in a variety of yeshivos in Baltimore, Lakewood, and New York. Additionally, through their visibility as Shidduch Center shadchanim, they receive requests year-round for meetings. Furthermore, the camaraderie of working as a community-centric team generates momentum, and the infrastructure offered them by a robust organization affords vital support in all aspects of their work.

Based on our past conversations, perhaps you missed one important factor?

Yes, I was hoping you would ask that. Given the demands placed on professional shadchanim in our generation, and the sheer volume of time and effort that is absolutely necessary for them to invest in their holy charge, the vast majority of funds we raise are directed to our shadchanim. Our financial support of our shadchanim is what gives them the ability to spend days and nights, year-round, doing what they do best. Our shadchanim have quotas of production and success they must meet to receive compensation, and by making compensation entirely dependent on tangible results, we are assured that every dollar spent helps bring another couple that much closer to the chuppah, bez’H. 

That is great! Can you elaborate on your new initiative for those in shidduchim who are age 25 and above?  

Another great question! We have spent significant time, energy, and money attempting to address that vital need. And I am very pleased to say that, bez’H, we have experienced tremendous growth this year in that realm. Earlier this year, we assembled a fantastic team of shadchanim from the NY/NJ area who specialize in this area, inviting them here to meet some of our outstanding single women. Subsequently, we arranged a special and quite impactful compensation package for these shadchanim, to motivate and incentivize them to work as hard and as often as they can on ideas for our community – both for those who attended our event, and those who were unable to attend. We have not seen a month pass since the event without this team setting up dates for a number of our single women. Of course, we are planning to make this a permanent fixture of The Shidduch Center, and to enhance it over time, to attain even greater results, bez’H.

Wow! Sounds like you have a lot going on, BH. Any final thoughts?

Well, I would be remiss if I did not touch on how our community can continue to meaningfully join in our work. Bez’H, our major annual campaign is taking place Dec. 4-5, and it is a great opportunity to partner with us. We understand that tzedaka needs are vast at this juncture, especially with the critical need for everyone to support Klal Yisroel in Eretz Yisroel. And, most respectfully, we ask our community members to also donate generously to our campaign, as you always have, and encourage others to donate. May your kind support be a zechus for all those in shidduchim who are near and dear to you, and, indeed, for all of Klal Yisroel. The work we do, and the shidduchim we have been zocheh to make, bez’H, are all only possible with the continued support of our generous community members. Tizku l’mitzvos!  

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