Matchmaking Mishaps

A Mother’s Role

By Hinda Mandell

Published November 05, 2008, issue of November 14, 2008.
  • Print
  • Share Share

How many times have you sent an e-mail to the wrong address? Depending on the e-mail’s contents, the mishap can provoke reactions ranging from simple annoyance to catastrophic panic. Very rarely, however, does such a blip bring together two Jewish strangers over cocktails in the City of Brotherly Love.

The story begins with my mother’s incessant quest to find me a man.

My mom, a woman of valor, doesn’t understand the concept of personal space. After all, she’s a mother — and a good one at that — so she meddles with the adeptness of a farpitst matchmaker from the Old Country. She absorbs the minutiae of her children’s lives, decides what’s wrong, and then, with all her wisdom, announces how she can solve her progeny’s problems. And there is nothing that sets my mother’s antsy, meddling fingers into motion quicker than the prospect of finding me a man.

An example? Consider that for most women, Zumba class at the local Jewish community center is an opportunity to dance away love handles. For my mother, it’s a networking opportunity. Which of these salsa-dancing, hip-swinging matrons has a single son of suitable age?

My mother, of course, does not work in a vacuum. She is aided by her co-conspirators in Zumba, as these mavens look to make connections for their all-too-picky offspring. Their scheming sessions explain an e-mail I received a year ago with the subject line “Hi — through the mom connection.” 

It read: “I think our Moms work out in the same JCC — and somehow thought to pass your contact to me. Don’t you love when Moms do that?”

Fast forward to present tense, and transition from man hunting to cooking — but aren’t they both essentially the same thing? My mother e-mails my sister and me a recipe for cheddar bread. I get the e-mail and quickly forget all about it. Frankly, cheddar bread sounds a little goyishe for my taste buds. My sister, however, never received the e-mail. That’s because my mother accidentally mistyped my sister’s address, lopping off her first name. The message with the truncated address got sent into cyberspace. No one thought anything of it. After all, it’s just cheddar bread.

The next day, my mother received an e-mail from a stranger who has the same last name we have. “Looks delicious, :)” the Mandell stranger wrote.

An e-mail exchange ensued, and my mother explained her technological mishap. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to set up her daughter, my mother sent the Mandell stranger another e-mail: “You’re very polite,” she wrote, “and if you’re single, Jewish, in the Boston area and would like to meet my twentysomething daughter let me know!!” From her daughter’s perspective, sheer horror.

The Mandell stranger, however, took my mother’s nerve in stride: “What a way to find a date! I am single, Jewish, and twentysomething but probably geographically undesirable since I am in Philadelphia.”

And that’s when I got to thinking: I have a friend in Philadelphia….

From what I understand, the meeting between the Mandell stranger and my friend in Philadelphia was successful. (Although I was disturbed when she told me that the Mandell stranger has an uncanny resemblance to my brother.) Second, third and fourth dates have followed.

I have learned an important lesson from this venture: You can put up a stink and make a fuss, but sometimes a Jewish mother’s will, coupled with fate and a bit of technological illiteracy, can bring together two strangers in unexpected ways. And a little cheddar bread always helps, too.

Hinda Mandell, a writer from Boston, is pursuing a doctorate in media studies at Syracuse University.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.