Lights, camera, action!!
For the twelfth year in a row, the Chicago Shidduch Group hosted its Summer Community Event for Chicagoland and beyond on Sunday, July 16th.
It was "standing room only" at the home of Kreina Staal, hostess and MC for the gala evening, which began with an inspirational Dvar Torah given by Rebbetzin Chanie Hertz of Chicago's Congregation Bnei Ruven.
Launched as a shidduch support group for moms of singles, the Chicago Shidduch Group has become the prototype for similar Shidduch Groups in over 50 locations worldwide which comprise the International Shidduch Group Network.
Members come together on a regular basis to learn and follow the Rebbe's directives for shidduchim, marriage and shalom bayis; be informed on shidduch resources such as matchmakers, Jewish dating websites and networking opportunities; and to help one another with celebrating the eventual simchas resulting from their efforts. Group members are encouraged to give at least 18 cents per day to Hachnossas Kallah--per the Rebbe's directive-- and to daven for each other's children and the singles in their communities.
Present at the event were over 60 women of all ages and stages in the community, from 20-something singles to mothers of singles as well as single women 40 plus. Attendees came from as far away as Mequon, Wisconsin, to learn and be inspired.
Keynote speaker for the event was Shandel Malka Blasberg, experienced and internationally renowned shadchan from Crown Heights, who addressed the topic, "Taking the Stress Out of the Search!" She gave an overview of the Torah blueprint for getting to the chuppah, focusing on the wisdom of the Torah directive to utilize a shadchan in the process. "As we see from Avraham sending Eliezer as his shaliach to find a wife for Yitzchak, an intermediary is needed to act as the go-between for the two parties involved in the shidduch, at the very least to get things off the ground!" Mrs. Blasberg spoke about the roles of the parents and the singles themselves in the process, illustrating her points with fascinating stories and examples of many matches she has been involved in.
A highlight of the evening was a unique hands-on lecture/demonstration given by gourmet organic chocolatier Dan Bieser of Tabal Chocolate Company of Milwaukee.
A bean-to-bar company, Dan showed photos of his travels to South America to procure cacao beans from the growers, whom he personally knows. He explained the whole process, from start to finish, of how the beans are then used to make his chocolate bars, cocoa and ice cream.
Guests at the event reveled in tasting samples of the many-flavored chocolates: espresso crunch, sea salt, coffee, almonds, cherries, pepper, teahouse matcha, masala chai, peppermint rooibos, and more.
Refreshments for the evening featured an exquisite milchig charcuterie board, including gourmet cheeses, dried and fresh fruits, nuts, chocolate, breadsticks and more, prepared by the food committee headed by Rochel Bukiet, Tzirel Grossman and Rivkah Kaplan.
To cap the evening off, an array of spectacular prizes were raffled off, including jewelry, gift certificates to a restaurant and a salon , as well as a free profile creation and analysis by local shidduch coach and shadchan Rabbi Moishe Raitman.
"We feel blessed to have been a prime resource to our many members and supporters here and around the world," stated Elana Bergovoy, co-founder of the Chicago Shidduch Group and President of the International Shidduch Group Network. "Since we began our Group twelve years ago, several hundred singles have gotten married, either directly or indirectly through the auspices of our Network. We've hosted international conferences and profile-sharing on global teleconferences." She urged members to take advantage of the latest feature of the Network: a dating website for Chabad and Chabad-friendly singles, called Find Your Bashert (www.findyourbashert.com) based on the very successful model of the Saw You at Sinai dating website.
Kudos to the collaborative efforts of Kreina Staal,Chanie Hertz, Rochel Bukiet, Tzirel Grossman, Miriam Leah Yarmove, Esther Rena Grossman, Rivkah Kaplan, Esther Raitman, Rivkah Benhiyoun and Elana Bergovoy for a memorable event! For more information on the Shidduch Group Network, please visit
International Shidduch Group Network or write firstname.lastname@example.org.