The tradition of matchmaking can be traced back to the origin of life itself with G-d being the ultimate shadchan (matchmaker) behind the union of Adam and Eve. Those traditions carried forward to the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe and Russia, with the height of matchmaking occurring during the Middle Ages. The shadchan was essential to keep splintered and isolated communities alive during times of persecution and pogroms. Courtship was a practice that was frowned upon, so someone had to bring couples together. These early shadchanim would risk their lives to travel perilous roads to reach outlying communities and keep the framework of their society alive.
The play “Fiddler on the Roof” touched on the importance of these traditions as well with Tevye, the father of three daughters, wanting to find their husbands through the village matchmaker, Yente, and the eldest girl protesting through the song “Matchmaker, Matchmaker.”
Now, in the 21st century, there are still matchmakers helping people find their beshert (predestined spouse). One of them is Karen Stein of MyTopMatchMaker. Karen, who is based in the Valley, has been making matches since she was in high school – she introduced a couple in their teens who are still together today. She carried around a Polaroid camera in college, taking pictures of potential suitors to show her friends.
Karen worked as a casting director and owned a talent agency before finding her true calling as a professional matchmaker. Under the guidance of her mentor, Mimi (the founder of MyTopMatchMaker), she embarked on a career that has brought forth her true passion and talent. “The most fun part is pairing successful couples together, getting it right, and knowing that two people are going to be on their way to building a happy future together,” Karen says. The only drawback is that she can never turn the matchmaker switch off. “It’s truly a seven-day-a-week passion; people need advice, dates need to be set up and I’m always on the lookout for the next hottie,” she says.
In this age of online dating, where you don’t really know who is at the other end of the email, using Karen’s services seems like a safer alternative. She insists on drug testing, background checks and medical and financial screening verifications for all her clients. She also relies heavily on her intuition, “As far as I know, the techies have yet to figure out an algorithm that helps you find true love.” She also says, “Online there is too much chatting and not enough dating. My clients enjoy getting dressed up, going out and having a great time. It’s a lot more fun than staring at a laptop or tablet waiting for a response from somebody who most likely just swiped left on you anyway.” No one has to fear “being swiped left,” Karen handles that too. “My clients don’t have to face rejection. I do all the hard work in dating for them, all they have to do is show up and be charming … and I even coach them on how to do that!”
And has the matchmaker herself found true love? The answer is yes! She has been married for 25 years to “the most wonderful man in the world” and there is a good story behind their initial meeting. Karen was in a bar in New York City with some friends when she noticed a woman, all alone, sitting at the bar. She thought for a moment about how courageous the woman was to come out all alone. About an hour into the evening this man that Karen describes as “6 feet 2 inches of pure Jewiness, that every mother would love” walked up to the girl at the bar. As he talked to his date, he kept looking over at Karen. This continued for a time and then Karen’s heart sank as the two got up to leave. After they had walked out, he told his date that he had forgotten something inside. He went back into the bar and asked a waitress for a piece of paper and a pen. He wrote on the note that Karen had great eyes and included his number. “That was the beshert moment, and here we are today!”
Karen encourages singles to give her a call or sign up online for a free consultation. She refers to these consultations as “fun, fact-finding and educational.” Her goal is to keep dating safe and work with “real people, looking for real relationships.”
As Karen proves, the role of matchmaker is still a vital profession and an asset to the community. Perhaps if Tevye and Golde’s daughters had Karen Stein finding their matches, they wouldn’t have been so quick to change tradition.
To book your free consultation with Karen, call 602-616-0026 or complete an online form at mytopmatchmaker.com.