Yismach: What we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going.
In stark contrast to increasingly popular dating sites for the modern religious, Yismach was launched to perpetuate the old fashioned, well established shidduch system.
In its simplest original iteration, Yismach was created as an aid to the established, recognized shadchanim – it was simply an electronic file cabinet where shadchanim could access the information of those individuals whom they had interviewed and those that they were already working on. At the initial stage, someone signing up to Yismach selected those shadchanim who they had met and allowed only those shadchanim access to their information. While the shadchanim had their handwritten notes, in order for information to be up-to-date, rather than shadchanim inputting the information, those in shidduchim were asked to keep their information up to date and if they got engaged, their information was permanently deleted.
As the numbers of records climbed with increased sign-ups, shadchanim asked us to add filters and some record keeping system so that they need not rely on memory alone to recall who they had previously suggested and who among those went on dates. They also wanted a private scratch pad where they could keep their notes. So, we updated the website to include search filters so each shadchan could keep their private notes and dating history.
To make it even easier, we made it possible for the shadchan to make the suggestion within the site where the suggestion went from their email address directly to the individual and this suggestion was automatically logged. We then added even better record keeping options so that the shadchan could see who said yes, who said no, and who had not yet decided.
As religious Jews, we appreciate the power of tefilla, and named each one on Yismach in the tefilla for shidduchim by the Chida (for males) and the Shelah (for females).
Tefillos were said at the kever of the Chida during the nine minutes where tefillos were particularly attended to, during Zos Chanuka where those decrees sealed on Hoshana Raba can be overturned and at the yahrtzeit of Yonoson ben Uziel we went to Amuka and davened for every single one of you, naming each of you. Last Lag B’Omer at the the Kever of Shimon Hatzadik, right in front of the kever, we davened for each of you by name. Also at the Kever of Shmuel Hanavi on Tu B’Av we davened for each of you. At Kever Rochel we shed our own tears as we davened for each and every one in Yismach. There was also davening by Kivrei Tzadikim around the world! By the Kevarim of the Vilna Gaon, Rav Chaim Ozer, Rav Itzele Ponovitzer, Rav Chaim Meveloshin, Chofetz Chaim, Rav Naftali Trup, Rav Yerucham Lebovitz, and more! In addition to this, we daven every single day for you to find the right one at the right time, and that the right time should be sooner.
At some point, it became salient that many shadchanim and those in shidduchim were clueless as to halochos such as what they or references are allowed to ask, how they and a reference are allowed to convey information and what are the boundaries of information presented.
So, we distilled the salient points from a shiur from Rav Ganz, Rosh Yeshiva of Kol Torah and put that up on the site as well as links to the video where Rav Ganz’s shiur can be seen. There were issues of payment of shadchanus (shadchan fee) so we posted the links to seven shiurim from Rav Spitz who reviewed the issue, quoting his sources. We researched and distilled halochos linked to the written source and put that in on the site as a resource.
We found that those in shidduchim needed encouragement and guidance, so we posted some of the most dramatic shidduch stories we found and we researched some of the common pitfalls and provided a Stories and Advice section. In addition to these, we will be adding another resource. We have been compiling original sources of Rabbinic literature referring to marriage relationships and gender roles to provide an anchor to many who are set adrift in a sea of un-Jewish and oft times anti-Jewish material which erroneously (mis)guides dating coaches and others who (mis)guided them.
We were asked by American shadchanim to make a mobile phone app as they do not use a computer and do all their work from their phone where they manually put in the information. We made a phone app for both Android, such as Samsung Galaxy, as well as for I-Phones. With this app, people can sign up and keep their information current and shadchanim can review information and make suggestions directly from their phone.
At some point, we found that some were inundated with offers- one got engaged within three weeks of signing up-while others were not getting offers. We asked many of those who signed up to meet us so that we could suggest which shadchanim they should contact and so that we could directly work on their shidduch. Very often they needed help in compiling a viable shidduch resume and in providing relevant information to shadchanim in their profile.
The common frustration is that those in shidduchim don’t know who to contact.
While shadchanim lists were “out there” in cyberspace, many take money for interviews, many were not shadchanim, and many others no longer worked on shidduchim. Yismach permits only the recognized current established shadchanim who do not take money for interviews to have access to the site. While signing up on Yismach you have the option of letting everyone see your information, not all shadchanim want to be getting hundreds of calls or thousands of emails. In general, we kept it one way where the shadchanim can see your information and it is up to them to contact you if they want to work on your shidduch. In a future version of Yismach, we will add some form of dialogue box where you can post a comment which is open to all shadchanim who see your profile, where they can respond to you, and you and that shadchan then can have a private exchange which other shadchanim do not see.
Another way we intend on making the shadchan’s job more efficient, is in setting up the dates, confirming them, and keeping accurate records. As it is now, the shadchanim enter this information manually. In the new site, the shadchan enters the date in the system which then is automatically recorded in that shadchan’s records and emails go out from that shadchan’s email to both sides confirming the date, including the details of where and when. We will also have reminders and notifications to remind both those who went out and shadchan to give/get feedback and to schedule another date if both want to continue.
Another area we found that needs attention is to help those doing long distance dating. They often need places to stay so we were working on providing a “Yismach House” where people can stay for a very nominal amount or if funds were available, gratis. In the interim, we are looking at ways of setting up a hachnosos orchim system.
So, at this stage, Yismach’s main value to you is connecting you to shadchanim. Besides being a shadchan myself, I was in the unique position to be a shadchan to shadchanim, referring you to those shadchanim who in our opinion would be a best fit.
Although we received some donations in order to enable us to continue to provide this service, we asked each sign up to make a $54 donation to cover our continued operational costs.
Money is very often a problem for those in shidduchim and we were considering a hachnasas kallah fund but instead we set up a new way to connect you to those who wish to contribute to your wedding and set up home expenses. Rather than limit this only to this important need, we set up www.mefarnes.com where anyone or any organization can raise money for an immediate need. So, whether you are a donor looking at places to disburse your maser money or you are in need, not just personal, but business – you have a start-up that needs some funds to get it off the ground – this is a viable way to raise money and to contribute to worthy causes or individuals in need.
So as Yismach connects you to shadchanim, Mefarnes will connect you to donors and donors to those who need funds. It is Jewish middle point between GoFundMe and Crowd Funding.
Help us help you and others who seek to build a bayit neeman b’israel
Israel Number: 052-344-4890
US Number: (617) 861-9235
England Number: (44) 2037691010
Email: Shmuel@Yismach.com Website: www.Yismach.com