Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Welcome Home!!!

You may know that we are involved in assisting singles to marry through the Shidduch service we offer. We spend a great deal of time involved in (all) our activities and many hours speaking to singles - all in the hope of helping them to find their "partner for life!"

Yesterday I received a call from a middle aged fairly recently-divorced man with a big family. Being divorced now meant his pursuing a Shidduch again. Those - not so new to Shidduchim, know well just how much is involved in assisting anyone to marry, let alone someone with a large family and a divorce "under one's belt." What made this harder included an expectation to marry a much younger lady still able to have children because - to him - nobody else would be acceptable. There are many areas in Shidduchim that need to be addressed in the correct framework and structure. This is one of them. While everything is done for every person to find the perfect match for them, someone in a situation such as this may well need to compromise if having a relationship with someone for the rest of his life - is more important than adding another child to an already very large family. (This post is not the forum for addressing these issues. We do indeed do our best to assist everyone as much as we can even when we realise that some Shidduchim can be much harder to make happen than others!)

Not knowing who I was when I had called him earlier, and not answering the call, he called back some time later asking if I'd called for him. Not knowing who he was (he gave no name) at this stage and hearing him speak Hebrew, I asked if he could speak English. Indeed, he came from one of those English speaking countries in the world, but seemed to lapse into Hebrew again. I tried getting on track with the English (which he certainly spoke fluently) - which I succeeded in doing with much difficulty. He was not happy with the "Shmues" and wanted to hurry the call along since he had all of two minutes to talk. When I finally heard his name and realised he had responded to an advert of ours, I informed him that I was simply returning his call and asked how I could help him! He seemed to suddenly have a lot more time than the initial two minutes he could promise me. It was now I that hurried him along and asked him to call later when he did indeed have more time!

In the early evening, I received a call from someone speaking Hebrew again. It was the same gentleman who felt that Hebrew was the only way to go. His Israeli accent would surely reveal him to be a Sabra in the fullest sense of the word, but I didn't get that feeling that he actually was! I know people who have made Aliyah and living in Israel for over 50 years - and who still speak with their original overseas accents! He was obviously seriously attached to everything Israel.

After getting back on track with English - he asked me how long I had "been home." I laughed and asked if he meant "Israel". He struck me as someone committed to some sort of home here where Jews live together and really connect in unity.

I gave him about ten minutes of my time as I listened to his requirements for a Shidduch, but explained how much is involved and that we offer a very comprehensive interview at a charge. We work professionally and this is indeed a part of our Parnassah here. He was highly offended, clearly expecting us to work for nothing or with a definitive guarantee of success - something impossible to give over. I have heard even G-d has difficulties with Shidduchim comparing them to the same difficulty as the Splitting of the Reed Sea! (Note: Unfortunately many singles feel that those assisting in a professional capacity do not deserve payment. It is a wonder to consider the amounts they will pay for dates, phone calls, transport and other necessities towards the Shidduch - but fail to take into account the real efforts, cost and time of a human being putting in tremendous effort to help them in the best possible way - for nothing less than a "best friend for life!")

Personally, I've advertised in Israel media tens of times and more - each time costing large sums of money - never once being told if these adverts would meet with success. Many have received no replies at all - but I value the graphic artists time, the printing costs, distribution costs and just about everyone else involved in helping to get my advert out there - and so I pay fully - up-front without so much as a hesitation! I do this, because I realise they're "putting out" - so that I can get ahead too!

So why the title of the post "Welcome Home!!!"? Going back to my callers' question, "So how long have you been home?" It's just this. It's a kind of strange thing that happens here. Everyone is "friendly." Everyone is "connected." Everyone feels brotherhood and a hundred and one other synonyms that show Jewish unity. That is - all until it comes to someone earning a living and being able to actually live here! There's something missing in the Aliyah story. There are so many with smiles on their faces when they want something from you... but when it's you making your own living - there are thousands of excuses why payment will not be forthcoming.

So Welcome Home!!! But remember friends - if you're serious about unity, serious about connecting and loving a fellow Jew as much as your love for the Land of Israel - then when it comes to living issues -  paying for an honest service given is not just a painful grudging, "I guess I have to!" but rather it's a "I am in love with supporting another Jew trying to live here - just like everyone else, including me." "I pay him because he is giving over something to me through his own honest efforts." "I am honored to support him - right here in the Land of Israel, because I truly want him - my brother (my sister) and my friend - to live here with me, in his very own home - just like I do!

I can't wait for the day when I can offer my service and be paid for it - not with a sour face, not with a need to bargain me down to nothing, not with a "I'll pay you when you guarantee me (this or that)". I can't wait for the day, when a fellow Jew can turn around and say - "My friend, I honour and respect what you do - because I know you're helping me and others too." I can't wait to one day feel - I'm really home!

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