| The Lonely Wait |

Shared Challenges, Shared Solutions 

To be clear, I’m not a shadchan. I’m a shidduch activist. There’s a difference!



or the last 15 years of my life, I’ve been facilitating shidduchim for the girls of my hometown of Toronto.

To be clear, I’m not a shadchan. I’m a shidduch activist. There’s a difference!

While I personally made 12 shidduchim over the years, at this point I focus on ensuring that singles and shadchanim have access to the information, connections, and resources they need.

My activism began organically, without any letterheads or formal organizational backing. When my oldest son and daughter were dating, I became friendly with a few of the shadchanim I was speaking to. Then, after my kids got married, I decided to take advantage of those relationships I had forged. I invited the shadchanim to Toronto, and arranged for them to meet local singles. Once the shadchanim met the young women in person, the hope was that they would redt shidduchim for girls who were now so much more than names on a resume. This arrangement continued for a few years and, baruch Hashem, resulted in many shidduchim being made.

In 2019, Bentzion Berkovits and Moshe Sigler, two active community members, approached me with the idea of starting an organized shidduch entity to help Toronto singles. We brainstormed, conducted discussions with shadchanim and experts, and consulted with rabbanim. And so the Toronto Shidduch Initiative (TSI) was born. My unofficial networking attempts had now become a formal organization.

Our mandate at TSI is “to help Toronto girls and their families navigate the shidduch system efficiently and successfully.” In truth, I feel that every city would greatly benefit from an organization dedicated to helping their girls, but since Toronto is an “out-of-town” city, we face unique challenges relating to cross-border travel and all that entails.

This is why this past May, the TSI initiated, organized, and ran an innovative one-day seminar in Chicago. Shidduch activists and innovators from Montreal, LA, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Detroit and Silver Spring flew into Chicago for a day of discussion, comparing notes and problem-solving. We all left feeling empowered and united.

So many individuals and communities are struggling through the shidduch process. While we keep searching for one large, overarching solution, we can all benefit by sharing approaches and ideas that have seen real success.

Here in Toronto, we’ve pursued a three-pronged approach to help our singles. Perhaps some or all of these ideas can help your community as well.

TSI focuses on three specific areas: support for our girls through shidduch-related information sessions and opportunities to meet in-/out-of-town shadchanim; support for shadchanim, including financial incentives; and encouragement for the community through chizuk events. As a rule, TSI does not charge for any of its services, so they will be accessible to anyone who wishes to partake.

Practical and Logistical Support for Singles

Our first focus is equipping singles with practical information and logistical support. To that end, TSI offers practical information sessions to graduates of all three of the local Bais Yaakovs (plus any other girls interested in the shidduch system).

At these events, a few of our local seasoned shadchanim speak about topics relating to dating, such as resume writing, what to look for, how to give and get information, etc.

In addition, at the beginning of each year, we arrange a “Meet the Shadchan” event, at which girls just entering shidduchim meet our local shadchanim in a relaxed environment.

Later on, mid-year, we have our annual “Shidduch Week Event,” during which we bring to Toronto 10-15 international, well-known shadchanim from LA, Montreal, NY, NJ, and Baltimore. Each local girl is then provided the opportunity to meet two or three out-of-town shadchanim of her choice, in addition to two local shadchanim. Over 150 girls attended this past year, each one meeting a minimum of four shadchanim.

In addition, throughout the year, Toronto girls know they can reach out to us if they’re planning a trip to the US, and we will set up personal meetings with shadchanim there.

Supporting Shadchanim in Their Vital Work

Another one of TSI’s goals is to provide the utmost support and assistance for shadchanim, so they will have the necessary resources to do their vital work as efficiently as possible.

Shadchanim involved with TSI know they can reach out to Laura Leitman, our TSI coordinator, with any request. Whether it’s to get more information on a girl or her family; assistance for the boy coming in to date — such as a host, car, or dating locations; arranging for local shadchanim to meet boys in yeshivos across the NY/NJ area; or brainstorming for a boy who would suit an out-of-town girl, TSI is a one-stop shop. And shadchanim have come to learn that we will expertly facilitate their every need.

Beyond logistical help, TSI supports shadchanim through financial incentives in recognition of their investment of time and commitment. You need to understand the reality of how the financial compensation of the present shidduch system works... it doesn’t!

Shadchanim are overworked and underpaid. They are a devoted and hardworking group, who spend hours if not days and weeks getting one couple to go out. They are not paid by the hour, nor are they compensated for the success of getting a yes from both sides. The only payment they receive is if the shidduch actually makes it to the finish line.

After working and speaking with many shadchanim, I feel strongly that this needs to change. I think that if every parent would take the time to show their appreciation to the shadchan who sets up their child by sending a check or a small gift, it would go a long way to validate the shadchan’s hard work, compensate them for their time, and even motivate them to keep going.

And the amounts paid upon completion of a shidduch are often surprisingly inadequate, considering the tremendous value of the service that these shadchanim provide — connecting your child with their life-partner. How much value do you place on that? Are you compensating them accordingly?

Until a better compensation system becomes standard practice, and in acknowledgment of the hours of unpaid effort that go into redting a shidduch, TSI pays any shadchan who sets up a Toronto girl per date and we have a guaranteed shadchanus program in place for when a shidduch is finalized.

Our budget is covered by generous Torontonians who feel a sense of responsibility and compassion for the greater community and who recognize the need for and appreciate our work.

Providing Encouragement Through Chizuk Events

Not every girl who meets a shadchan will get a date and not every parent who advocates for their child will see results on the spot. To that end, TSI sees chizuk events as an important part of our work, and has facilitated public addresses as well as individual meetings with gedolim and rabbanim who inspire and lift the spirits of our young women.

Rav Yitzchok Kolodetsky has addressed our community multiple times with divrei chizuk, and then spent hours upon hours speaking to each girl and giving her personal divrei brachah. Rav Shimon Galai has inspired many with his simchah and emunah and has met personally with older singles. Rabbi Chaim Aryeh Zev Ginzberg addressed the city and spoke about Ohel Sarala, the inspirational organization he began which has produced miraculous results both with our girls here in Toronto and around the world.

All of those who engage in the work of TSI feel the siyata d’Shmaya accompanying our efforts; we know that Hashem helps those who put forth effort. At the same time, we’re aware that Hashem runs the world and all anyone can do while waiting for their zivug to show up is to daven, grow spiritually and have emunah that their time will come.

Thankfully, the efforts of TSI have borne fruit. In our four years of operation, we have seen great success, with over 1,000 dates set up and 122 shidduchim made.

As we continue our activism, hoping and davening for more good news, we also remain open to new ideas and approaches — and we’d be happy to share our experiences and lend support to any new initiative.

Hopefully, by sharing successful methods and working together, we can share the joy of good news for Klal Yisrael singles.


A lifelong Torontonian, Goldie Hauer is one of the founders of TSI. She is also involved in many other local organizations and initiatives.


 (Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 947)

Oops! We could not locate your form.