Lynda Cohen Loigman's "The Matchmaker's Gift" Shines a Light on Jewish Matchmaking

Lynda Cohen Loigman believes in soulmates. “I do not assume everyone has just one. I believe there are some individuals on this world that you just simply actually join with,” she tells POPSUGAR. “It does not even must be romantic. If you are fortunate in life, you will have a pair completely different soulmates, whether or not they be romantic ones or platonic ones.”

In her novel “The Matchmaker’s Gift,” printed on Sept. 20, one in all foremost character Abby’s platonic soulmates is her grandmother, Sara Glikman, who dies firstly of the e book, leaving her with a set of journals and quite a lot of unanswered questions. The pair share a deep bond — and an uncanny skill to determine strangers who’re good for one another.

Sara, the opposite central character in Loigman’s candy marvel of an intergenerational story, makes her first match on the age of 12, introducing her sister to her future husband whereas they’re on a ship immigrating to the United States. To Sara, matches are identifiable by skinny golden traces that join one soulmate to the opposite.

Her granddaughter, Abby, inherits this reward — although Abby, a jaded divorce lawyer with out a lot religion in eternal romance, tries to combat in opposition to it. But over the course of the story, Abby learns so much about how laborious her grandmother needed to combat in opposition to individuals who could not stand to see a younger girl making matches based mostly on one thing as intangible as pure religion and intuition.

Loigman was impressed to write down “The Matchmaker’s Gift” within the depths of a COVID-19 quarantine binge-watch. Her daughter and her daughter’s roommate got here dwelling to quarantine together with her, and like many people, they devoured Netflix’s “Indian Matchmaking” collectively. After watching the present, Loigman’s daughter’s good friend confirmed her a New York Times article about her grandmother, who had been an Orthodox matchmaker in Brooklyn within the Nineteen Seventies.

The spark caught instantly. Loigman determined to drop the e book she was engaged on for the time being, selecting as an alternative to dive into the world of matchmaking. “I really feel like everyone in that second simply needed to learn a cheerful story, a narrative that was joyful,” Loigman says. “We have been at such a disconnected time, we have been all so remoted, and a narrative a few matchmaker is simply by definition a narrative about connections, as a result of that is what they do. They make connections.”

Matchmaking is a long-standing a part of Jewish custom. According to the Torah, the very first matchmaker — or to make use of the Yiddish phrase, shadkhan — was God himself, who matched Adam and Eve. In many Orthodox Jewish communities, matchmakers nonetheless play a crucial function; as a result of custom forbids women and men from interacting, the shadkhan could also be totally chargeable for pairing up group members. Traditionally, matches have been made largely for financial causes, however through the years, that started to shift as communities started permitting women and men to have interaction in courtship.

Loigman, a author of historic fiction, needed to base her story in a particular time and place, so she selected the 1910s and Twenties, specializing in early Jewish immigrant communities in New York City’s Lower East Side. A particular line from a New York Times article solidified her imaginative and prescient for the story. “The article had this line that was, ‘At this marriage ceremony, the scent of roses and orange blossoms mingled with the odors of dried herring and pickles,'” she says. “I despatched it to my editor and I simply mentioned, ‘This is what I need my e book to be. I need it to be roses and pickles. I need it to have the uplifting, joyful, romantic elements, however I need it to have the grit. I need all that Lower East Side historical past and grit to be represented too.'”

Her analysis additionally led her to some surprises. “In 1910 in New York City, there have been over 5,000 skilled matchmakers,” she says. Of course, “the majority of them have been males. They weren’t all males by any means, however it was a enterprise. There was some huge cash concerned.” She selected to heart her e book round Sara, a younger girl who has a number of strikes in opposition to her as she pursues her calling as a matchmaker, and never solely due to her gender. “If you have been an single girl, you were not speculated to be alone with an single man looking for a match for him,” Loigman says. Single and younger, Sara finds herself dealing with authorized threats from males who see her as a risk to their livelihoods.

Still, Sara pushes by way of — and so does her granddaughter, Abby, who faces extra trendy pressures that inform her she ought to worth motive and logic over love and emotion.

Loigman’s analysis additionally led her to interview some up to date Orthodox matchmakers, who’re nonetheless very a lot lively right now. “Did they consider it as a calling? Did they really feel that compulsion to do it?” she says. “I believe usually, sure. I believe individuals do really feel like they’ve a aptitude for it.” Today, she says, “I do assume that the function of the matchmaker has modified from what it was once. I believe it is turn into extra of a life-coach function today, the place individuals wish to discuss to younger singles about being extra open to completely different varieties of individuals. It’s not as transactional because it was.” As matchmaking is alive and effectively in lots of trendy Jewish communities, Netflix is taking be aware. In March, it introduced it was producing a sequence known as “Jewish Matchmaking.” “Will utilizing the normal observe of shidduch assist them discover their soulmate in right now’s world?” the present’s tagline reads. The phrase shidduch refers to a match or marriage associate, however it additionally means “to relaxation” or “to expertise tranquility,” in accordance with the Jerusalem Post.

Indeed, for Loigman, “The Matchmaker’s Gift” was meant to supply some tranquility and connection for readers in a time of want. She additionally needed it to current a hotter form of Jewish story at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise. “I really feel a accountability to inform Jewish tales,” she says. “When I wrote my first e book, I simply informed a narrative, and it occurred to be a Jewish story, as a result of that was the story that I knew to inform. Afterwards, the response that I bought was such that it made me really feel prefer it was vital to inform Jewish tales that aren’t Holocaust tales, and are usually not struggle tales, and are usually not tales about us getting murdered and being trapped and all of this stuff.”

Ultimately, Loigman hopes her work fosters connections throughout all boundaries, simply as Sara and Abby do within the e book. “The factor that makes me happiest is when individuals write to me and say, ‘This jogged my memory of my grandmother. This introduced me a lot happiness.’ And they don’t seem to be Jewish individuals, and so they’re studying it, and so they’re connecting with it,” she says. “We want that connection between individuals.”

Image Source: MacMillan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.