Explanation Requested

Can someone please explain to me why people want to know in which shul my parents daven when doing shidduch background checks on me?

This question is inconvenient to answer because, living in Brooklyn, they are thoroughly surrounded by shuls, which pop up not just in large edifices with stained-glass windows, but also in random basements and converted houses on residential streets. Aboding as they are in this Garden of Shuls, they take full advantage of the smorgasbord. My vague understanding is that my father rotates between three preferred locations, although I don’t know if this is divided by “shacharis, mincha, ma’ariv,” or “Shabbos/weekday,” or is on some kind of weekly rotation.  The womenfolk in the family stick with only one (it being equipped with a balcony).

I honestly couldn’t name all relevant synagogues. Nobody calls them by their names anyway; rather, by the name of their rabbis. Most of whom slip my mind at the moment. And who aren’t even known in the first place by the vast majority of Jews in Brooklyn, let alone OOT.

Truly, it doesn’t concern me from where my father comes home from shul, so long as he does arrive. And most weeks, it doesn’t concern me at all. Because I’m not there. And haven’t been. For a while.

So what does it have to do with me?

13 thoughts on “Explanation Requested

  1. You answer with the name of the one or more shul/s you or your family attend whose membership, rabbi and/or general ‘atmosphere’ most closely resembles you and your family’s haskofah. That’s the purpose of asking… but I am sure you know that already..

  2. It can be an indicator of family religious affiliation ie. father davens at shul known to have a more MO crowd.

  3. its also a good way to find more references to ask… They may know people who daven at the same shul- and can then ask abt you…

  4. Bad4:
    This is primarily a hashkafic question – ie: where do your parents fit along the continuum?
    Although, since you are no longer a Brooklyn denizen yourself, your parents’ choice of Shul presumably becomes far less significant, unless you plan to make it yours too, if and when you return.
    Chodesh tov


  5. When I was dating, I once overheard my mother explaining to someone “how it works”, like so: “See, the names on the profile are worthless, right? Cuz they’re prepped to only say good things. So we try to find out what shul they daven in, so we can ask the Rav about the family; also, if we (or our friends/relatives) know anyone else in that shul, we can ask them for information. They’re more likely to be honest than the references…”

  6. A shadchan once asked my mother what yeshiva my grandfather went to. She calmly replied “My father was born in 1912, and sadly the yeshiva he went to in Poland no longer exists.” But, she did give the shadchan the information she wanted.

    I agree with MB: people will often ask about the family’s shul to help them play Jewish geography.

  7. It’s all about Jewish Geography; if I know where your parents daven, there may be people I can call whom I trust more than the references, who are obligated to say nice things.

  8. Dear Shadchan, instead of focusing on the family, maybe you can focus on the person in question? Instead of trying to find faults in people, maybe you can let singles meet each other after verifying basic compatibility, and let them figure out if those faults you would have unearthed are outweighed by positive factors for them?

  9. No one is trying to find faults; as a mother and a shadchan, I find it’s easier to find out about people if I know who they are. That’s exactly how I go about “verifying basic compatibility”. How else would you suggest I do that?

  10. Ask the singles to fill out a form, which I assume you do already. For me the important facts to determine basic compatibility are: aliya?, age, marital status, smoker?, views on halacha/balancing secular and torah learning, views on female/male roles.

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