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TOPIC: HaGefen UK - the new Shiduch office in London

HaGefen UK - the new Shiduch office in London 2 years 11 months ago #102

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London, 02 September 2015 - 18 Elul 5775
Shiduch Buch, the London based Shiduch office and HaGefen the Jerusalem based office for Shadchonim join up to create the first overseas branch of HaGefen. The aims of HaGefen are to help facilitate Shiduchim - the process of matchmaking - and to act as a focal point for Shadchonim - matchmakers.
With offices in Jerusalem, HaGefen has spread through various locations in Eretz Yisroel, including Beit Shemesh, Bene Beraq and Ashdod. By a special twist of Hasgochoh Protis, a Golders Green office in now in the pipeline.
Following an interview published in the Inyan supplement of HaModia on Chamishoh Osor beAv - the day that commemorates the ancient custom of Jerusalemites, when they used to dance in the outskirts of Jerusalem and choosing a life partner - the decision to start a Shadchonim office in London is no surprise. As Rabbi Halpert of Borough Park (NY) wrote to Menasche Scharf (the subject of the aforementioned interview): "HaGefen in London will constitute a Kiddush HaShem!" (=lit. the sanctification of His holy name). The many people who have since made contact with Menasche Scharf, to either suggest a Shidduch, plead for a child or family member of theirs and the financial support that poured in - all goes to show that we are on the right track: London has woken up to the Shadchonim Crisis...
On Sunday, 30th August 2015 an introductory meeting was held at the home of Mr and Mrs Dovid Saurymper, who graciously welcomed and hosted over 50 attendees in his house, including Dayonim, Askonim, and Shadchonim, as well as members of HaGefen from overseas.
The event was opened by Rabbi Nosson Binyomin Eckstein, Dayan at the Belz Shul in St Kilda's Road. He eloquently connected the topic of shidduchim to Rosh HaShanah - when the books of the living are opened and he entreated the Shadchonim to do all in their power to alleviate the plight of older singles in our midst, who deserve our undivided attention no less than other candidates.
Rabbi Chaim Yitzchok Deblinger, one of the founding members of HaGefen emceed the event, giving the background to HaGefen's founding. He quoted one of the gedolim: 'being older is not a disadventage'. it's a plus'. Rabbi Deblinger suggested that all the assembled should take away with the following lesson: ‘look around you; find out about your family or neighbour who might have a boy or a girl whose Shiduch hasn’t happened yet. Pool your resources and start networking so that within a relative short time we will hear many more Mazal Tovs!
Rabbi Yosef Benedikt elaborated on the reasons HaGefen is establishing an office in the UK, emphasising the points that is on most parents' mind: "when will it be our child's turn to go under the Chuppah?", "how come no one has contacted us with a Shidduch suggestion in the past three months?!" or "how do I go about calling attention to an older single in the community?".
The Moro d'Asro, Rav Padwa gave his blessing to the fledgling organisation. Likewise, the Rov of the Satmar 26 Kehilloh, Rav Yosef Binyomin Wosner voiced his empathy with the many parents in the local community who sometimes wonder whether their name have slipped off the Shidduchim list. Rav Dovid Hager, Rov of Wiznits-Monsey gave his heartfelt blessing for success to HaGefen and to all assembled.
The highlight of the event was indisputably the Droshoh by the Rosh Yeshivah of Oyrayso in Jerusalem, founder of HaGefen; Rav Chaim Schmerler started off by explaining that we are all familiar with the many communal organisations like Hazoloh, Chaverim and Boney Olam, the need to provide adequate support to the Shidduchim scene is no-less important, as we're building up many Churvos. He expounded with fascinating stories of Hashgochoh Protis that HaGefen is witness on a constant basis. One story he mentioned was a shadchan who received a desperate call from a 40 year old single girl on beis Nissan. The shadchan tried to turn her request down by protesting: 'I am now busy preparing my home for Pesach'. 'I too want a home to prepare for Pesach!' the girl cried. When the Shadchan heard this, he opened the HaGefen book of boys' names and came across a single 41 year old Bochur. As he looked closer, he saw that it was this man’s birthday that day! Taking this a sign of Hashgocho Protis, the Shadchan proceeded to redt this shidduch and on Erev Shvi'i Shel Pesach this couple were engaged. The shadchan took the time to delve into a difficult Shiduch and another home is now being built in Klal yisrael! Rabbi Schmerler closed his words by voicing the anguished cry of older singles and their parents: ‘it is every Shadchan’s obligation to give off our precious time to help!
A special vote of thanks goes to the veteran Shadchonim duo Rabbis Shlomoh Reiner and Yosef Benedikt, who together with Rabbi Chaim Meir Miller and Menasche Scharf facilitated this event to happen at such short notice.
The overwhelming outpour of support that followed in the days immediately after the event shows how this is recognised as an important, fundamental step to shidduchim. Indeed, HaGefen UK is now looking for a number of altruistic people who will take it upon themselves to provide the necessary funding, logistics and administrative support to enable to dozens of Shadchonim to expand their activities beyond what they have been doing until now.
In 5776, there will be forms made available for people who would like to register for themselves or their family or friends to be on the HaGefen database.
Wishing you Ketivah vaChatimah Tovah
Menasche Scharf
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