Have you ever tried to make a shidduch? It’s not easy. There is someone in our community who has made over 100 shidduchim. Sharon Ganz started her events approximately 25 years ago. She was living in Toronto, and she wanted to find a way to help singles meet new people. The problem with running events in one city was people were meeting the same people at the events. She ran her first Shabbaton in Toronto. This was followed by Shabbatonim in Montreal, Denver, Florida, Memphis, the Catskills, Los Angeles, New Jersey, and New York. Her goal was to bring people from different cities together so they would be new to each other.
In the Catskills, Sharon ran Shabbatonim at the Brown’s Hotel, the Homowack Lodge, the Tamarack Hotel, the Concord Hotel, Kutsher’s Hotel, and the Hudson Valley Resort. Many people told her that these programs changed their lives. Singles were so grateful for these opportunities to meet their zivug. People who attend her events are shomer Shabbos. Anyone shomer Shabbos is welcome. Many lives have changed after attending her events. Over 300 children were born due to these shidduchim. People have made connections and found jobs or met lifelong friends, as well.
Her Shabbatonim take place in communities where people graciously open their homes. One host she knows became close with the person she hosted and made sheva brachos when they got married.
Sharon stays up late at night arranging housing so singles will have an enjoyable experience and meet new friends, as well. People have met at her events and then set others up, as well. There is a lot of interaction. She makes sure the seating is mixed so people have a chance to meet one another. She includes speakers, an oneg Shabbos, and a Getting To Know You program. There is also a Saturday night party.
“I’m a Jewish mother,” she said, “so there is food galore.” The event is conducted in a very heimish, respectful atmosphere. The goal is to help everyone find his or her soulmate and become happily married.
She recalls one Shabbos Nachamu weekend where a couple introduced her to their teenaged son. They had met 25 years ago at one of her events. The father said to the son, “I want you to meet Sharon Ganz. She introduced your mother and me to each other.”
The son smiled and said, “You tell us that every year.”
Sharon says that her events are now conducted in memory of her mother, who encouraged her to continue this work. “It’s a z’chus for her mother, Chayah Sheina Chanah bas Yitzchak.” May her mom’s neshamah have an aliyah.
She hopes that every time a shidduch is made, that the couple would call to say thank you. When she hears there’s a shidduch, she feels like she won the lottery. “I put my heart into these events. I want to help everyone get married.” She said that when she sees couples marry, it feels like its her own kids getting married. “I love the people I meet! When the Shabbaton ends, it feels like the last day of camp. I don’t want it to end.”
She noted that there are so many singles out there, that there is a huge need for this. She works out the housing, the financing, the catering, the program, and the advertising. It’s like making a wedding, she said.
Her advice to people who want to help singles is to put thinking into your shidduch ideas. Make sure they are appropriate ideas. If you are single and go on a date and it doesn’t work out, think of someone this person might be appropriate for.
She added, “It’s easier to split the sea in every city, than to make one shidduch.”
Please share the following with your single friends and family: Sharon Ganz’s next Shabbaton will, im yirtzeh Hashem, take place on November 5-6 at Congregation Bais Tefilah of Woodmere, located on Edward Avenue in Woodmere. For more information, please contact Sharon at 646-529-8748.
By Susie Garber