Kesher Networks is the Jewish community’s answer to the challenge of shidduchim for medically challenged singles.
Kesher Networks, Bonei Olam’s new shidduch initiative, maintains a massive online database of boys and girls with every type of medical condition, from serious to innocuous. The database includes users from every country on the globe, and opens users to shidduch possibilities they would never have known about otherwise.
The process is complex.
“Shidduchim are very nuanced. There are so many factors at play! You can’t just take a boy with diabetes and a girl with diabetes, and presto, a shidduch.” Mrs. Sarah Rosenfeld, who worked with Bonei Olam to establish Kesher Networks, explains how it works.
“The website has filters. A user – a parent or single – creates a profile, and can select what he or she would find suitable.” A typical search would feature an age range, Judaism type (Litvish, Chassidish, Mizrachi, etc.) ethnicity (Ashkenazi, Sephardi, etc.), personality type, and other relevant questions, including a list of medical conditions the boy or girl would possibly consider in a spouse.
The “conditions” list reads like a medical manual, with well-known and obscure conditions alike. Cancer, anxiety disorders, diabetes and celiac are listed alongside rarer diseases, such as genetic illnesses and fertility disorders. Cancer, genetics and fertility disorders are Bonei Olam priorities – which partly explains why Bonei Olam established the program.
“Bonei Olam is about building families,” Rabbi Bochner says. “And building families starts with shidduchim. If a person isn’t married, he can’t start a family.” He points out that if a person waits for a shidduch, he or she could be missing out on crucial child-bearing years.
The program is a boon to countless singles. But it’s much more than a high-tech solution to a problem. Kesher is a program with heart. Its biggest asset is the people behind it.
“This isn’t your typical database, where people can conduct their own searches,” Mrs. Sarah Rosenfeld of Kesher explains. “The site is manned by shadchanim. We review the data and speak to both parties.” That is a critical point, for two reasons.
Already, Kesher Networks has been instrumental in bringing about a number of shidduchim. As word gets around and the database grows, the number of shidduchim grows exponentially.
There is no limit to its potential.
To sign up, visit keshernetworks.org. or call 212-330-7644