(JTA) — Israel’s Education Ministry is funding matchmakers to work in public religious high schools starting this academic year.
The head of the ministry’s Religious Education Administration, Avraham Lifshitz, called on schools to hire counselors in order to help students in their last years of studies find spouses, according to Haaretz. As part of the program, counselors would also create lists of young men and women eligible for marriage.
The Education Ministry did not provide a budget for the program, but said counselors will receive 30-60 hours of training.
The program received pushback from some educators in religious schools.
“The schools shouldn’t get involved in matchmaking,” said one anonymous teacher, according to Haaretz. “It’s not our job to collect names and create a database of acquaintances. If there’s a large community of bachelors and bachelorettes, as the letter says, it would be better to listen to them and understand what’s bothering them than to look for matches.”
Lifshitz initially thought about implementing the program only in religious girls’ schools, but ultimately decided to enact it in boys’ schools as well.
In Israel, religious and secular students attend separate public schools, and most religious middle and high schools are single sex.
Josefin Dolsten is a news fellow at the Forward. She writes about politics and culture, and edits the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten .