This past week in Ramat Beit Shemesh, there was an incredible program for mothers by Shalom Task Force and Beis Tefila Yonah Avraham. The workshop, “The Dating Waze: Guiding Your Child to a Safe and Healthy Relationship,” featured a panel discussion on the shidduch process. The panel included dating and relationship coach Sheila Segal, Vivian Willig, MSW, and Shira Fruchter, MSW, all of whom are experienced Shalom Task Force education presenters for young women in gap year seminaries.

This dating workshop focused primarily on the mother’s role in the shidduch process for their children. They discussed preparing their child before entering shidduchim, knowing what to look for, making sure the mothers are on the same page as their child, networking, and describing their child along with what he or she is looking for.

Additionally, the panelists discussed how to investigate a potential shidduch in a cautious yet realistic manner. The panelists explained how to read a resume to look for incongruencies, which questions to ask references, how to tell if the shidduch fits your child’s non-negotiables, listening to what is not being said, and looking out for inconsistencies.

Lastly, the panelists discussed the role of parents when processing the date. They discussed red flags to be aware of: if the person comes on very strong, possessive, self-centered, controlling, stubborn, and someone who is unstable or has mood swings. The panelists explained to the mothers that it is essential that they are there for their children throughout this confusing yet exciting time in their lives and to encourage their child to trust his or her instincts, while they help navigate their child through the process. The workshop ended with a Q & A. Many mothers approached the panelists with personal questions as well. There was a strong request by the mothers for follow up workshops for the young men and women of the community. Thank you to Yitti Bisk, an experienced Shalom Task Force education presenter, for helping to organize the event.