One day in 1988 at a business meeting, a friend said, “I wish I could find someone special for my daughter, Dina. She lives in L.A. and works in movies and I hope she finds someone more observant.”
The very next day, at a Board meeting of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, another friend said, “I wish I could find someone special for my son, Michael. He lives in L.A. and works in television. And I wish he would meet someone a bit more observant.”
With identical scripts, this was clearly a shidduch just waiting to happen. I knew nothing about Dina or Michael beyond what their fathers told me. But there were so many common threads: they were both in their early thirties, worked in the entertainment industry in L.A., and their parents wished they were more observant.
I called Dina’s father, who cleared this potential opportunity with her, and told him I was about to call Michael‘s father and mentioned his name. “Wait,” Dina’s father said. “Could he have been the camp doctor at Ramah in the Poconos in the 60’s?” I said it was very possible. To which Dina’s dad exclaimed, “If it’s the same man, I was working there, too. I have a photo of the kids playing in the sandbox!” It was the same man. The fathers working together at Ramah clinched it. I made the shidduch.
I had absolutely no idea if they would actually click. They did. And on their first or second date, Michael took Dina to the Emmys, where he won one.
I was in Israel when they married less than a year later in the Berkshires—my husband represented both of us. (I was acknowledged under the chuppah.) Michael and Dina now have two grown daughters and I have a confession: I have never met any them!
This was actually my third success story as a matchmaker and all three couples, kinahorra, are still married. I met my beshert, Jay Liepzig, at Grossingers in the 80’s, where we were both in a Jewish organization’s executive development program.
If you want to make a shidduch, you need to have great curiosity, excellent listening skills and a thick “Rolodex”/ network in your head—and a deep desire to make people happy.
Cindy Chazan is a retired senior advisor of The Wexner Foundation, capping a career of executive leadership at Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford. She holds a B.A. in Jewish Studies from McGill University and an M.A. in Contemporary Jewish Studies from Brandeis University. She and husband Jay have been married for over 36 years. They belong to Congregation Beth El, in South Orange, NJ, and to The Minyan, a lay-run Conservative congregation in the Berkshires.