Yeshiva University is teaming up with a premier matchmaking service to help its students find love. YU's Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) had previously partnered with matchmaking website Saw You At Sinai. However, in light of recent changes to student demographics and new understandings of Orthodoxy, a bold new vision was needed.
Enter Saw You At Sodom.
“We recognized that many of our students' needs were not being met,” said Billy Ya'al, Executive Director of Yeshiva University's new shidduch service. “YU's partnership with Saw You At Sodom reflects our commitment to equity and diversity.”
But this will be much more than a matchmaking service. The Center for the Jewish Future will be offering a series of workshops to tackle the challenges of finding a partner in today's complex Orthodox world. Leading rabbis and professionals will explore a wide range of topics, including the following:
Should gay people be allowed and encouraged to sit on the other side of the mechitza so they can pray without distractions, like everyone else? Is the old model outdated? A halachic discussion.
Is it appropriate to ask out your chavrusa directly, or should you find a shadchan to suggest it? Can shteiging and shtupping go together? A panel discussion.
What if a Rebbe/student relationship becomes a different kind of relationship? Are we ready?
Gavra or Cheftza: How do you know if there is serious potential or if it's just for fun? Dating coaches weigh in.
“It's about time,” said Andrew Lamosya, President of the Student Pride Club. “We deserve the same opportunity to love and be loved, and a partnership with Saw You At Sodom will help right the injustice of matchmaking discrimination on campus.”
We also spoke to several single LGBTQ+ students who wished to remain anonymous for shidduch purposes.
“It's so hard to meet a good man,” said one gay student. “There just aren't enough good guys out there. And they all have lists.”
Many students agreed, but were unsure what could be done. “It's God's fault,” said one who identified as Orthodox rainbow. “But we're working to create a larger dating pool for ourselves and our children. With the right education and messaging, the next generation will have it much easier.”
None of YU's Roshei Yeshiva were available for comment. However, YU's Office of the President released a statement that all Yeshiva faculty were committed to helping students love their neighbors and be loved – however their bodies and souls desire.
Not all students were satisfied with YU's partnership with Saw You At Sodom. “They should change the name of RIETS to RIGHTS,” said a rabbinical student. “I'm also tired of hearing about separating sinners from sin. It's not a sin to exist and to love. It doesn't say that in the Torah.”
One administrator commented on condition of anonymity. “Some rabbis expressed concern about the changing environment, but there won't be any serious opposition. We pay their schar in this world.”
Overall, however, there was a celebratory mood on campus. Many students were busy filling out their shidduch profiles. “Mishmar and mishkav zachor,” offered one. “The best of both worlds.”
Considering how the winds are blowing, Yeshiva University and Saw You at Sodom are a perfect shidduch.
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