By Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin MA
We live in a world driven by data and research but at this point since shidduch resumes are relatively new inventions there is no hard proof whether they help or not. Entire sectors of the Frum and Charedi worlds do not rely on any sort of shidduch resumes. So far no one has heard of a shidduch resume in any sector of the Chasidisha or the Israeli Charedi worlds. So that makes shidduch resumes unique to the English-speaking American Yeshiva world.
The families of Roshei Yeshiva, of Maggidei Shiur, prominent Balebatim in America do not seem to be using shidduch resumes, while everyone else in the English-speaking American Yeshiva system does rely on them because it is the only way the limited number of well-known reliable shadchanim can “get to know” and try to process the hundreds if not thousands of requests for shidduchim that come their way and they therefore have been the ones to require and promote the use of written shidduch resumes to find the needles in the haystacks, so to speak, to make good shidduchim.
But where does that leave everyone else who is not as Choshuv or wealthy and do shidduch resumes help or hurt the Hammon Am. There is of course no research on this subject (yet) and I would welcome any and all feedback and responses as to whether people in the English-speaking American Yeshiva world feel that the now-universal use of shidduch resumes is helping or hindering the Shidduch process and if it does or does not contribute to the now well-known Shidduch Crisis.
Allow me to share from my own experiences. When our oldest son was considering dating plus minus less than a decade ago it was only girls who were required to have shidduch resumes. By the time our last son was dating in recent years both girls and boys needed to have a shidduch resume. As the common wisdom goes it is generally boys who are flooded with the resumes of girls it seems and from our experience we were at one point sitting with dozens of resumes approaching the hundred or two hundred mark. At that point my wife asked me to alphabetize the printed-out resumes of girls we had received via emails and faxes because they had piled up and created a virtual “bottleneck” since we could not sort through them due to volume.
Spending a few hours I took out a thick marker pen and put the letters of the alphabet on each actual resume and not on the cover letters on emails that shadchanim would often send. It was a very thick pile, and it needed updating every few weeks to incorporate newer resumes. I happen to be good at organizing things, but I asked myself what if someone is not that organized, or what if a person cannot print out the resumes that are attached to the emails they arrive in? What if they get lost or thrown out or some such? One loses track of where the resumes came from or who emailed them. No doubt everyone has their own experiences, sometimes there are not enough resumes coming in, or all the resumes are not what you are looking for. It is complicated. You begin to realize what shadchanim are going through as they have databases with thousands or even tens of thousands of resumes to handle and process and at the end of the day it is only a handful of proven dedicated shadchanim who come up with the (hopefully) prize picks that will get the best attention and best results of course (hopefully). It is a miracle that anyone gets married this way!
So my advice is to be very organized, read resumes carefully, do not ignore any resumes and do not be quick to judge or misjudge a resume because it’s just a “needle in a (digital) haystack” but it is the needed needle that is about your eligible son or daughter, and just as you would want to get the best attention for them because you care about them, try to give the best attention to someone else’s son’s or daughter’s resume and try not to contribute to the bottleneck but to alleviate it as best you humanly can, with the help of HKB”H!
Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin lives in Flatbush and is the Director of the Jewish Professionals Institute www.jpi.org and his wife Zahava, although they are not shadchanim, have counseled many in the area of Shidduchim and dating. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or718 382 5610 and 718 382 8058.