Matchmaking Mom


    A local mom wonders if the type of dating connections described in a recent Exponent article might help her daughter in Chicago, and asks our advice columnist to suggest similar services that operate in the Midwest.


    Dear Miriam,

    I just read about you in a recent Jewish Exponent article on matchmaking. I live here, but my 26-year-old daughter lives and works in Chicago. She has done some online dating, but I am wondering if the type of dating connections that are described in this article may be of help to her.  Do you know of similar services in Chicago? If I give her a lead, she may follow up. Thanks — this is inspiring!

    Matchmaking Mom

    Dear Mom,

    On the heels of the article you referenced and my response to the mother who was concerned about her daughter's serial dating habits, I seem to have suddenly sky-rocketed into the new darling for moms of 20-somethings everywhere. I'll admit, I wasn't prepared for that niche. I even have a third question from a mom that will be coming soon. In the meantime, you're looking out for your daughter from afar and hoping she'll be as inspired as you are by the prospect of someone fixing her up with a potential future partner. It's sweet!

    Saw You At Sinai is an online matchmaking service for traditionally observant singles and JRetroMatch provides the same service for those who are less religious. These two sites are linked, and they actually also provide the backend and combined database for GradMatch, the local matchmaking program I started and that you read about in the Jewish Exponent. These sites are great, and paying members benefit from the dedicated time and expertise of experienced matchmakers. For those who are shy, meeting through a matchmaker can be easier than approaching someone through J-Date. And for those who are squeamish about the whole online vibe, knowing a real person is vetting potential dates can provide real comfort and confidence in the process. For those who feel like they know everyone already, the sites may open them up to a new pool of singles.

    However, these sites are only great and only relevant if the single person wants to be fixed up. You say your daughter may follow up on a lead you provide, but you don't mention whether or not she's actively interested in dating or whether she wants you to be involved in her personal life. She might be very excited to hear about a new online dating option, but she might balk at the idea that you're writing to an advice columnist about her dating prospects. Based on my own experience as a single 20-something back in the day, when I definitely talked to my mom about some (but not all!) of my personal life, I'm happy to give you the benefit of the doubt that your daughter will be receptive to your input. However, if she immediately moves to change the subject, please respect her wishes. You never know, she may still follow up even if she doesn't tell you.

    It's also possible that your daughter hasn't found her dating niche in Chicago yet because she hasn't found her social niche. I reached out to a colleague in Chicago for suggestions of where your daughter could go to meet people. She pointed me toward Young Leadership Division, which offers all kinds of events, volunteering and leadership opportunities, including an upcoming Purim Party. She also directed me to the Oy! Chicago blog, in particular, this article about the best ways to meet young Jewish adults there. If your daughter is new to town or otherwise seeking community, she  might be more receptive to checking out one of these events than to going to a matchmaker. Either way, as always, I advise you to listen and be supportive of your daughter along her path!

    Be well,