Sunday, February 03, 2013

The Facebook Match-Maker Incident

מוצש"ק פר' יתרו תשע"ג

Below, I have posted dialog from a public string begun on the Jewish Modesty Facebook group.

I mention this only because modesty comes up as an issue during the dialog.  If not mentioned, the reasons for raising the issue of modesty below would not be clear.

The point of posting this incident is not to go after this shadkan (male match-maker) in particular.

For all I know he has actually helped many people find their spouses.  For now, I am also willing to assume that the mental health practitioner wife he mentions who works with him, is a good one.

The point of posting this to help those who are ill-prepared, to become prepared in dealing with professional shadkanim and shadkaniyoth (female match-makers), and their potential, financial conflict of interest.  You can result in pushing two individuals together who not truly meant to be together, unconsciously motivated by financial gain.

While reading the exchange below, I ask that you keep in mind one question.  Does the match-maker answer any of my (potential client's) questions?

Then after you finish reading, ask yourself if you would feel confident going to this professional, accessing his services, and trusting in his judgment regarding the compatibility between you and a potential date, let alone a future spouse.
Key: 
1. MM = the match-maker
2. 10 Ag = Esser Agaroth (me)
3. (words in parentheses) are replacement words to protect MM's identity.
4. [words in brackets] are my additions for clarity.
5. Punctuation and spelling were corrected, and italics were added to indicate non-English words.
6. Blue italics indicate my side commentary.

The string began with a the posting of a match-maker's professional website.  I begin the posting of the string here with my response.

10 Ag: I stay far away from anyone making any money off of shiddukhim. What does this has to do with modesty? Most of the shadkaniyoth I've met are the antithesis of modesty.

MM: Please explain.

10 Ag: [The posts on] The Yiddishe Cup pretty much sum it up. But, to be clear, I should have only said shadkaniyoth. I don't have any experience with shadkanim, and have heard mostly positive things from friends regarding shadkanim, and some positive things about couples working in the business,...as long as HE's not whipped.* But, the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about is the potential conflict of interest here. The more marriages, the more money, no?

MM: Well, I am a man and my (mental health professional) wife assists me very professionaly, So feel free to sign up for free, You can receive and respond to messages for free and initiate contact for pay

10 Ag: No thanks. And, I think that we in this group need to decide whether it is appropriate to promote any business here. You may not have noticed, but there were three shiddukh oriented posts on this wall in a row? By the way, has your wife pursued licensure here in Israel, like I have? I ask, because it's yet another thing I'm jaded about in Israel, English-speaking therapist and "therapists" not bothering to pursue licensure here, and promoting their brand of "therapy," treating friends, and any number of other unethical practices. But, I digress....

MM: Yes, my modest wife works for real Israeli amutot with recognized masters from (university name).  By the way, we met through a for pay site

10 Ag: You didn't answer my statement, but that's ok. How is it that you are a "rabbi?" Why aren't the credentials of yourself and your wife mentioned on your site? Did I miss them?

MM: Ya'aqov, I am not applying for a Rabbi Job right now. Feel free to read my hundreds of Divrey Torah at (website name) Blessings to you to find your SoulMate through my site.

10 Ag: Then why do you mention it on your site, that you're a "rabbi?" Isn't that to give confidence to your prospective clients?

MM: Questioning my credentials doesn't help you to find your modest soulmate. I do have them and they are on my vast Jewish site. I suggest that you stop looking down at people. Perhaps you should ask some of our "mutual friends" about me.

10 Ag: Um,...how does "asking questions" translate to "looking down?" Why would I want to go to someone who cannot even answer a question about his qualifications?

At this point I decided to make a comment to this shadkan privately, and so I switched to Facebook personal message. At around the same time, this guy has sent me a Facebook friend request, which I found to be odd.  Oh, well.  Different people use Facebook for different reasons.
 
I went back and forth several times, before finally deciding to post this private conversation here.  The main reason for this was to show the initial message I wrote to him.  His response, and continuation of the conversation pretty much follows the same pattern as that which was posted publicly, and is not anymore damning.

10 Ag: By the way, your "modest wife's" shoulders are showing in your picture, unless she's actually wearing a flesh colored blouse underneath.

MM: Shalom, should I remove my friend request? I don't want FB to blacklist me.

Gee.  I wonder why he would be concerned about that? 

10 Ag: It's neither here nor there. I rarely accept friend requests from people I do not actually know in real life.

MM: I had thought that to be the case, However, I asked a "mutual friend" from your list . He said that he did not know you from a hole in the wall. As a Rabbi and Shadchan I see early patterns that are making it hard for to find a soulmate. I strongly suggest you go for counseling/coaching. I will be happy to guide you there free.

10 Ag: I don't know him from a hole in the wall either. [He didn't friend me; I friended him, thus no conflict here with my statement above.]  I said rarely, not never. As a [real] psychotherapist, I also see patterns. For what purpose would you suggest that I seek counseling or coaching? As a therapist, I would only see another therapist, who specializes in therapy with therapists, as is professionally appropriate. Often when one suggests that another seek therapy, it is a continuation of the defensive strategy begun with not answering direct questions about ones qualifications. The made up profession of coaching, desperately needs regulation and oversight. [Many of] These paraprofessionals (if even that) are emboldened to attempt to handle issues for which they are not in the least by qualified nor equipped to handle, and have the potential to do quite a bit of damage. Did I mention that I also stay far away from "rabbis," especially English-speaking ones. Hakhamim (Torah scholars), on the other hand, are a differently story.

MM: Ah, I thought that you knew that I was (ethnicity) from a family of (ethnicity) (city) Hachamim. But it's ok. I am removing the offending post. The Modesty group is not as pleasant as others. I bless you with success and happiness and do not see any reason to continue this discussion.

I find it defensive, his snap judgment via e-communication that needs counseling, especially someone whom he has never met.  Furthermore, he does not even back up his "strong suggestion," when he was given the opportunity to do so, through my request for clarification.   

Of course, he does not see this Facebook group as "pleasant as others.;" of course, he does "not see any reason to continue this discussion."  He has been challenged, and for whatever reason, finds it necessary to evade my questions....that is, assuming he is even conscious that he is evading my questions.

I will hazard a guess that in is his mind, any "likes," innocuous comments, and lack of any challenge to the posting of his website's address are perceived to be those of praise and encouragement.He is not being let off the hook for not answering my questions.  His current defensive strategy of avoidance is not working.  He turns from "fight" to "flight."

In addition, making such assumptions that people "know you" can be indicative of self-centeredness, if not narcissistic tenancies.

10 Ag: Not sure why I would nor should know that [he's from a family of "hakhamim"]. How is that shayakh (related) to any of my above questions, which you have still not answered. Offending? "Offending" is your word, not mine. Your post, your choice.

MM: I only address these issues with people who have signed up for free. Most of the info can be found at my site.

He seems to have only one goal on his mind, the promotion of his business.

I do not believe that there is anything inherently wrong with that.  But, gee whiz!  Can't he answer my  very direct questions, for goodness sakes??

Bottom line?

Did he answer ANY of my questions, publicly or privately, to your satisfaction?

Beware.  He is not the only out there doing the very same thing,...or worse.

*********

*whipped - indicating that the husband in a marriage does anything and everything his wife wants, out of fear of divorce or the possibility that she would refuse to participate in marital relations.

2 comments:

David Seidenberg said...

The shadkhan sounds aswfully reasonable to me.

Esser Agaroth said...

Interesting...

Thanks for commenting, David.

Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that this Jew is an awesome shadkhan, do you not agree that he did not answer my questions?

Perhaps, I am missing something here.

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