By: Raizel Druxman, Guest Writer
Living in Israel, I sometimes feel like I’m in the Jewish version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. On a bus a stranger will hand you her baby while she goes up to pay, taxi drivers will give you life advice, strangers will invite you into their home for Shabbat, you will get endless brachot (blessings) from elderly men and women and most importantly, for our purposes, if you’re single everyone you meet will try to set you up. It’s like one big, happy (occasionally dysfunctional) family.
The feeling that everyone is family often leads to incredible connections and wonderful, heartwarming stories. But sometimes, it goes haywire.
Last week, I met an adorable elderly Persian/Israeli woman, named Sarah (name changed to protect the kind-hearted), at a bus stop right off of Yafo. Three seconds into the conversation she started the usual barrage of questions (in Hebrew), "Are you single? Are you looking for a husband? How old are you? Do you live here? Where are you from?" "Yes, I'm single and yes I'm looking for a husband. I'm 27, from America and I'm staying with my sister in Neve Yaakov."
With this information she said enthusiastically, "Yesh li bachurim tovim! Teni li et hamispar telephone shelach!" (I know good guys! Give me your phone number!) I gave her my number because, you never know, and then her bus came and we said goodbye.
Fast-forward one week and the phone rings
"Hello?" I say
"Shalom”, I hear a deep voice with a heavy Israeli accent respond, and for a second I think maybe it's the cute Israeli guy that I met last week in town.
Me: “Hello? Mi zeh?” (Who's this?)
Caller: “Shalom, zeh Sharon.” (Shalom, is this Sharon)
Caller: “Kibalti et hamispar telephone shelach” (I got your phone number)
Me: “You got my number? From who?”
Then it hit me. The Persian lady actually gave my number to some random guy and he actually called. I was so surprised that I started laughing.
After apologizing for my outburst, I discovered that Sarah had given my number to her friend who had a nephew in Tel Aviv. He was 38 years old, seemed a bit socially awkward, was completely secular, and he didn’t speak a word of English.
Sarah was the sweetest lady and I can say unequivocally that she was really just trying to help, but I don’t get it.
Before I went to Southeast Asia I went to my sister’s family doctor in Israel to get a prescription for malaria pills. He asked me a few questions, strongly advised that as a religious girl I not take the trip, gave me a blessing that I find what I am searching for and gave me the prescription. When I returned I went with my sister and her kids to the same doctor. We walked into the office and without even a hello, the doctor says to my sister, "Oh this is your single sister, right?", turns to his secretary and exclaims, “Help her find a shidduch!”
I have a million more stories like this because people really want to help.
I am honestly flattered and touched when people take the time to talk to me and set me up with someone they know and respect. But when people set me up with someone just because it’s the only single guy they know I usually walk away from the date feeling a bit insulted and thinking, “This is what they think of me?”
So if you want to help my hat is off to you because we all know how difficult matchmaking can be. However, I ask you to please learn a little about who I am before you start throwing random men my way hoping one will stick. Remember that I appreciate your care but it’s only helpful when you know me a bit.
If you’re single, keep in mind that God’s messengers come in all forms and try not to get too upset when your taxi driver tries to set you up with his friend’s nephew/niece. Just remember it’s because he cares about you. After all, you are family.