The Power of More

May 23, 2024

The Power of More

Shevi Handelsman

“Everyone laments the shidduch crisis and the difficulty in getting a shadchan’s attention. I wanted to do something.”

These fateful words of Rabbi Moshe Bender set a revolution in motion.

It has a name: Kesher.

And a mission: creating a centralized shidduch system that changes the game for singles and shadchanim.

Old concept, new and improved

Kesher has actually been a mainstay of the Lakewood community for 15 years, hosting monthly meetings in which shadchanim met with singles and followed up with discussion and benefiting hundreds of families. Board members R’ Itche Rosenbaum, R’ Noach Gordon, and R’ Yaakov Frommer, Kesher were instrumental in spearheading this initial phase.

Then, it was time for more. More talk. More action. More shidduchim.

Too many singles and their families were feeling lost in a labyrinth of too many phone calls, too few suggestions, and too much stress.

It was time to create a shidduch center at which sought-after shadchanim would be employed full-time, meeting boys and girls, presenting names and profiles, and brainstorming together.

Rabbi Moshe Bender undertook to raise the funds, and the program was launched.

Today, a stellar group of top-tier shadchanim are equipped with the tools and resources they need to succeed: a proper setup, a proper system, and a proper salary.

With Hashem’s help, the success has been undeniable. Thousands of young men and women have met with the shadchanim, and over 400 of them got engaged.

A system that works

Kesher shadchanim primarily meet girls between the ages of 20 and 25 from Lakewood and around the country. Once a month, a number of girls have the opportunity to meet with many shadchanim on one night, obviating the need for excessive technical arrangements and constant meetings. The shadchanim, in turn, brainstorm together and contribute information to a shared database.

One grateful mother shares, “After months of quiet, I encouraged [my daughter] to go to Kesher. She felt some apprehension beforehand, but afterward, she had only the nicest things to say about the experience. And a couple weeks later, we got a call from one of the wonderful shadchanim with an excellent suggestion.”

Indeed, the Kesher experience is designed to be comfortable—enjoyable, even. At Kesher, girls feel respected and dignified by the process, with each one feeling that the shadchanim want to get to know her and set her up with appropriate suggestions. Every staff member and shadchan is friendly, welcoming, and genuinely interested in each girl. Refreshments are served on meeting nights, and there’s an aura of respect and hospitability.

Concurrently, renowned shadchanim Rabbis Tzodek Katz, Meir Levy, Yitzchak Pinter, Elimelech Hartman, Eliyahu Rudnicki, Ezra Rosner, and Shlomo Lewenstein meet and speak with many single boys, whose names are then presented at joint meetings.

This sparks inspiration among the great minds at Kesher, resulting in numerous great ideas that would otherwise never have been raised. The girls are generally paired with boys either in BMG, where the shadchanim operate, or learning in other yeshivos.

A joint mission

“The shidduch meetings are not isolated,” says Mrs. Avigail Lipschitz, a Kesher shadchan. “There is constant follow-up among the shadchanim, because we all met the same girl. That’s the beauty of this centralized system.”

Often, she adds, different shadchanim have various details and additional information to add about the girl, and that sparks an idea.

Rabbi Shlomo Lewenstein concurs. “I see it all the time—just from the words I use in presenting a boy, something clicks in the mind of another shadchan and a shidduch happens.”

It’s Hashem’s way of delivering His intervention through those who are investing so much into our community.

“The point is, we are no longer relying on any individual person to remember your child’s name and think of an idea. We have created a broader base where any one of our shadchanim can make the match,” says Rabbi Bender.

“You really can’t compare the reality of working as an independent entity versus coming to the dedicated Kesher office and working together is a serious, focused, motivated way,” adds Mrs. Penina Carlbach, another Kesher shadchan. “Somehow, I think of so many ideas as we network and share information.”

And it’s being done right.

“Kesher is an office that is a true standard bearer in terms of professionalism and pristine levels of shemiras halashon and bein adam l’chaveiro,” says one Kesher coordinator. “The office is run al pi ruach haTorah, with zero gossiping or coffee room talk.”

“By now, we are a family,” another Kesher shadchan adds. “We have developed a wonderful camaraderie born of shared purpose. There is pride in being a Kesher shadchan.”

Now, Kesher is ready for even more. They see this model working with Hashem’s help. They would be happy to see other communities adopt a similar system and are here to help with anything they need to get it off the ground.

Heroes at work

It’s no secret that shadchanim are unsung heroes. They donate hours, days, and weeks of their time in hopes of bringing a shidduch to fruition.

“I can tell you that every one of these shadchanim can be a CEO of a large company for the sheer number of hours they invest,” a Kesher staff member shares. “They are committed to the nth degree, and we all need to show the same level of commitment.”

It’s the hard truth: shadchanim worldwide are notoriously overwhelmed with phone calls, messages, and follow-ups. Meanwhile, parents are frustrated by the lack of communication, feeling lost in a system that has outgrown itself.

Kesher is here to remedy that. Their shadchanim are singularly focused on their mission, and the singles and their families feel the difference.

Because while many careers are now being outsourced to AI, shadchanus is not one of them. This is the work of the people, and it requires human investment.

Everyone should be redting shidduchim. And everyone should be supporting those who bear the brunt of this task.

“This is an impressive operation that benefits not only the Lakewood community, but all of Klal Yisrael,” says Rabbi Uri Deutsch.

Because it’s really as simple as this: when you invest in shadchanim, you enable more shidduchim to happen.

A community cause

By questioning the status quo, Kesher filled a searing need. But a need this great cannot be addressed by merely a handful of intrepid individuals.

It’s a klal issue if there ever was one. Our gedolim are pained by it. Our communal leaders are burdened by it. And everyone is affected by it.

“I would go as far as to say that just as every community has a Hatzolah and a Bikur Cholim, they need to have a solid shidduchim framework,” one of the directors suggests. “We all either have a family member in shidduchim or we will—and it’s a shared responsibility.”

But while Kesher’s impact is unprecedented, we as a community need more. There is currently a waiting list of close to 100 girls who would like to have their meeting appointment. And there is an opportunity to hire more shadchanim for more hours—if we all step up and meet the moment.

Even if one is at the blessed stage of having married off all their children, they can show their hakaras hatov to Hashem by enabling others to reach that milestone.

Nineteen shadchanim. Hundreds of singles met. Thousands of shidduchim redt, 400 of which have culminated in a mazel tov. And an annual budget of $600,000.

They assumed the weight of this issue on behalf of us all. Now, we need to do ours.

This coming week, Kesher will be launching its Power of More campaign, raising $600,000 to support its shadchanim and expand its services to accommodate more singles.

Go to to donate.

On behalf of every new home built in Klal Yisrael, thank you.