Why I Won't Join Saw You At Sinai
At least one of the reasons. I was on Saw You at Sinai (hereinafter referred to as "SYAS" to save my fingers some typing) when it first was being developed, but cancelled my membership around the time they went to a system where payment was required. I think that was about a year and a half ago, but I don't remember clearly. My cancellation had nothing to do with the requirement to pay - I quit for various reasons, such as the fact that it had garnered me exactly no dates, no phone calls and only a couple guys who I would even consider going out with. But I also quit because of the mistreatment I received from several of the shadchanim on the system. Not every shadchan on SYAS was rude and mean. There are some who really are well-meaning, helpful and making real efforts to make shidduchim, which I definitely agree is an important task. But I had a couple of interactions where the shadchans made rude comments to me about my declination of dates and about my profile on the site. What I didn't receive, but what I have heard story after story about, especially recently, was grief about the pictures I posted on the site. I count myself lucky. In the past month or two, I have been told numerous stories from friends about shadchanim on SYAS berating pictures on the site. I have heard requests for professional photos, suggestions on better photos and I have heard of rude criticism being sent to singles about the photos they chose to post. But last night's story is the absolute worst. A friend was telling me about a friend of hers (who I have met several times) who recently got dressed up, put on make-up, did her hair, and had someone take a very nice picture of her. She posted this photo on SYAS and received an incredibly rude e-mail, completely unsolicited, from a shadchan on the site. This e-mails subject line itself was "EW." The e-mail consisted of berating and ridiculing remarks regarding this woman's picture. Name-calling was even resorted to. The woman who received this e-mail was in tears after reading it. This is the worst e-mail I have heard of, but not the only one. Who on earth gave the shadchanim the idea that it is okay to treat anyone in such a manner? Who taught these supposedly frum individuals that it is under the guise of Torah to give unsolicited criticism in a mean and cruel manner? What on earth was this woman thinking in writing such an e-mail? Just because a person is single entitles no one, not even a shadchan who is "helping" that single, to be rude and cruel. I know many shadchanim received less than grateful responses from singles, and that is absolutely not justifiable either. But calling names and breaking down the self-esteem of women, for no reason that I can fathom, is ridiculously disgusting. What worries me the most is that this is not an isolated incident. As I said, I have heard numerous stories of my friends being criticized for the pictures they chose to post on the site. I have also heard stories of shadchanim who badger women into going out with guys that they are uninterested in, and who make abusive remarks to my friends regarding their decisions. One of my friends questioned whether men on SYAS get the same treatment, considering the fact that I have heard there are many more women on the site than men. I honestly don't personally know any men who are on SYAS, but I would be interested to know whether any of them have received such e-mails. I don't like being critical of a program that whose mission I do believe in. I do think it's important to make introductions between singles and to encourage marriage. I do personally know of a couple or two who was introduced through the site. But I think they need to be doing something in order to make sure these abusive e-mails are not being sent, especially since it seems to be a regular occurrence. I think the shadchans need to remember what it was like being single, and to use sensitivity in their treatment of the singles they are trying to help. I hope something changes soon, for the sake of my friends. Because for now, I stand firm in my decision to refrain from joining SYAS.