the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Yenta the Matchmaker for the Day


In the old-country, Jewish marriages were arranged by matchmakers.  Perhaps the most famous Jewish matchmaker was Yenta.  Yenta was the name of the matchmaker in Sholom Aleichem’s stories, several of which were collected into what became the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”   The word “yenta” has taken on negative connotations in the modern word, and it is usually used to describe a “busybody.”

I’d like to defend the good name of matchmakers.  Being a busybody was part of the job.  A matchmaker HAD to sneak around and ask a lot of questions because she was a detective — always looking for clues that would help her make the best match.   In the Jewish tradition, it is also a mitzvah (good deed) to help make a successful match.

(from Matchmaker, Matchmaker — Fiddler on the Roof) 

Well, somebody has to arrange the matches,
Young people can’t decide these things themselves.

She might bring someone wonderful—-

Someone interesting—-

And well off—-

And important—

Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Make me a match,
Find me a find,
catch me a catch
Matchmaker, Matchmaker
Look through your book,
And make me a perfect match

I’d like to revive the spirit of Yenta the Matchmaker right here on this blog — on these special days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.   Tomorrow, Thursday, will be a special day on “Citizen of the Month.”  Tomorrow, we shall all become Yenta the Matchmakers. 


I will be making blog matches between 10 pairs of bloggers.   These are not romantic pairings.  These are pairs of bloggers who I have never seen read each other’s material (I’ll check their blogrolls), but I think should give each other a try.  Using an ancient technique passed down from my grandmother, I will try to match bloggers by their sensibilities and interests. 

Recently I was successful in introducing Danny and Elisabeth to each other.  At first glance, they have nothing in common.  But a true matchmaker realizes that they are both brainy bloggers with a twisted sense of humor.   Now they are on each other’s blogrolls.  

This is not easy for me.  I do have a jealous streak.   I used to get upset when my “blogging friends” became friends with each other.   One day, I’ll be reading Blogger X and I’ll be surprised to see my friend Blogger Y writing a comment.  Before you know it, Blogger X and Blogger Y are taking a trip to Las Vegas together, without even sending me a postcard.

But the week before Yom Kippur is one of reflection and self-improvement.  I’m going to fight my jealousy and spread the love.   So, if I match you up with someone, give their blog a chance.  I know matchmaking is not a perfect science. 

Please join in tomorrow with some matchmaking of your own, maybe even mix and matching blogrolls.   Are you the type who is always saying, “These two bloggers really need to read EACH OTHER!”   If so, tomorrow is your chance to do a mitzvah by becoming a Yenta the Matchmaker for the day.

Update:  The matches.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  A Shanda (Yiddish for Shame)  (I really get Jewish at this time of the year, don’t I?)



  1. Sarah

    things really haven’t changed thaaat much… matchmakers these days are similar, they just look more modern!

  2. ally

    cute idea. i’d like to see what kind of pairings you come up with.

  3. nadineiswishingtobefoundbyamatchmaker

    That’s very nice of you. Yes, spread the love, spread the joy of blogging all over the world.

    The blogging world becomes a beautiful world with people like you!

  4. pam

    I matched my friends K and M, one Jew, one Hindu and they have YET to invite me to the wedding of my dreams in which there is a chuppah and saris. I am a bad yenta because I am bitter about this, though they are still dating.

    No, I don’t really have a point.

  5. girlgoyle

    I have to say that your idea is brilliant tho difficult. Would be interested in seeing where you send me…if you do.

  6. Boutros

    What a nice idea! Now if only I could get the Fiddler songs out of my head today… (To life! To life, L’chaim…)

  7. Roberta

    Yeah, it’s all in my head too. Could be worse, could be Cats.
    My mother always called me Yenta from the time I was little. And then a few summers ago, I fulfilled mom’s casting prediction when I played Hannah (the matchmaker) in a local production of Crossing Delancey. But I think I more capture the Jewish busybody flavor than the matching itself. I’m no Emma. I’m no Neil Kramer.
    Looking forward to it.

  8. Alissa

    I’m going to bring my soundtrack to Fiddler on the Roof to listen to tomorrow during the matchmaking. I love theme music.

    I think you’ll make a GREAT Yenta. I’m excited to read about the match ups!

  9. rach

    oooh I love your new role as blogger matchmaker. Fit me in somewhere, I am intrigued to see how you do?

  10. Suzette

    I only hope that Lazar Wolf the butcher is not on your blogroll.

  11. jenny

    I love it! I’ve recently discovered a few new great bloggers through other bloggers who’ve repeatedly told me, “OMG – you don’t read […]? How is that possible? S/he’s HI-LARIOUS!”

    I know these aren’t romantic pairings, but do you know any pirate bloggers you can match me up with? Just wondering…

  12. Serena

    I always thought I’d make a good yenta.


    Match maker is a powerful position.

  14. Anomie-Atlanta

    I need to expand my horizons on the blogs I read, feel free to suggest. In turn, I suggest that you check out

  15. deezee

    I’ve found many new blogs I read through your commenters here, and several have told me that hopped to me via you…and you don’t even know it! (I don’t have a blogroll at this point.) So, I guess I could call you ‘The Accidental Matchmaker.’

    If you continue successfully in this venture, can I turn my love life over to you and see how you do???

  16. Alison

    What a great idea! I’ve already found some “new” bloggers through you (much as Deezee said, via your comments).

  17. e.

    I, too, have found some new reads through your blogroll already.. and a new visitor/fellow skeptic of Olive Oyl yesterday. This is a very ambitious project of yours.. will you be wearing many a Yenta-style shawl while you match?

  18. Jody

    Neil, I think you have made several matches already without even trying. I’m on the list of people who have checked out your blogroll and even people who have made comments. I’m such a curious type that I even click through on other blogs when I visit a blogger I “found” through you. I can’t wait to see how you “match” people up. You just might have a new job!

  19. orieyenta

    Ooo…I agree with several of the others – you have already done this a bit without even knowing it – I have found many other good reads from your blogroll and some of your readers seem to have found their way to mine!

    A blogger shadchan – who would have thought?

  20. ms. sizzle

    great idea neil. can’t wait to see you in yenta action.

  21. EEK

    I like the blinged-out Yenta necklace. It’s what every Yenta needs.

  22. justrun

    How fun! Good idea.

  23. Norma

    I’m an excellent matchmaker; my son just doesn’t take my advice. He’s tall, dark, handsome, single, divorced, no children, employed and I’m on the look-out for a terrific daughter-in-law. He’s on the look-out for her too, but our idea of terrific seems to be quite different. See what you can do.

  24. Nics

    I’ve never seen The Fiddler On The Roof so I’d never heard of Yenta but I’ve been called Cilla before. She used to present Blind Date over here. I resent being called that as I only matchmake while under the influence.

  25. fringes

    Well, this certainly gives me a new reason to wake up tomorrow. How exciting!

  26. Trixie

    God damnit, Neilochka. Now that freakin’ matchmaker song is going to be in my head all day.

    Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream…

  27. Tara

    I’m just the opposite. I love it when people come across blogs they love from my links.

    The matchmaking is tricky – for blog friends it should be fun. But I’ve been set up by friends with guys and I wanted to ask my friends later if they really hated me that much because the guys were awful and so not my type.

  28. Wombat

    I’m a crap matchmaker, and a crap matchmakee, but I dig the idea, Neil.

  29. Rhea

    Don’t worry, Neil. I won’t go off with anyone to Las Vegas. I know you’re worried about that.

  30. Heather B.

    Hey Neil! Catch me a catch!


  31. Heather B.

    Of course I posted that comment before realizing that you posted the lyrics to the song. I thought I was being all clever like. So, see if you can find someone as equally as dimwitted as I seem to be. Thanks.

  32. Danny

    I was all set to write one of those irritating comments where I’d correct you that “Yenta” is not a name but the actual word for “matchmaker.” Then I realized I was dead wrong and “Yenta” IS a name that has come to be used in that way mostly because of “Fiddler on the Roof.” Who knew?

    My great-grandparents were matched by an actual “shadchan” (the real Yiddish word) and were married for over 70 years. Honestly, I think the matches made by these folks have just as much chance as working out (if not more) as the marriages we stumble into on our own.

    Love the idea of your blog matches but I don’t think Elisabeth was such a stretch for me. She is French after all and you know what a francophile I am! Remember that my daughter is half-French.

    I like that comment that you are “The Accidental Matchmaker” (great title I may steal). I’ve linked to several people after finding them on your blog and I’ve also sent people your way who are now among your most devoted readers.

  33. laurie

    Is a Yenta anything like a Yentyl? Is Yentyl past tense of Yenta?

    Also, I tried saying the word out loud and it sounded like something you’d say when asking a question. Like: “Y’enta that March Madness pool at work yet? Pot’s about seven hunnerd now.”

  34. Marisa

    I’ve found lots of blogs through your blog Neil, Danny’s being chief among them. I’m looking forward to seeing who you match!

  35. Neil

    Laurie — You are making a a mistake common to shiksas from the South. Yentyl is a book by Isaac Bashevis Singer and a character played by everyone’s favorite Jewish diva over 50, Ms. Streisand. A yenta is a matchmaking busybody, which is common in all cultures.

  36. laurie

    Thanks for the clarification, neil 🙂

    I love me a matchmaking busybody. How do you think I ended up married?

    Oh… whoops. That’s maybe not the best example. But you know.

  37. laurie

    Oh– what the heck is a shiksa? Is that like a sh*thead or something? Did you call me a bad word? Or is it Yiddish for “cracker ass cracker” ???

  38. Neil

    A shiksa is a hot non-Jewish babe that all the Jewish men check out when she walks down Ventura Blvd.

  39. Sophia

    Danny: “My great-grandparents were matched by an actual “shadchan” (the real Yiddish word)”

    B*e*e*p, b * u * z * z, wrong. Shadchan is a real Hebrew word.

  40. trouble

    I love, love, love matchmaking, but every single match I’ve made has ended up in divorce. Yikes. With a track record like that, matchmaking now frightens me. 😉

  41. chantel

    Neil, I’d like a boyfriend!!
    P.S. I love Fiddler on the Roof!!

  42. Sweet

    Great concept. Looking forward to see who you pair!

  43. better safe than sorry

    we have a show here called matchmaker, a canadian version of blind date. i told my oldest daughter for years that i could pick a nice guy for her better than she could, but for some strange reason, she thinks she should meet guys on her own. this past summer she changed her mind and told me if i knew anybody, to go ahead and set her up. now i’m scouring my neighborhood for just the right guy, it’s not an easy task. good luck with tomorrow!

  44. Xanax Mom

    I am new to Citizen of the Month and new to blogging – would love if you would find me a match!

  45. Danny

    Hmm, I thought “shadchan” sounded like Hebrew, thanks, Sophia. But I know it was commonly used by my Yiddish-speaking (non-Hebrew-speaking) relatives. To “make a shiddach” sounds more Yiddish. In any event, I still think it’s an idea that is underrated. On the other hand, it’s still hard for Jewish women to get a Jewish divorce if the husband isn’t willing so you don’t want to get stuck with a psycho who paid off a shadchan…

  46. Woman with Kids

    I can’t wait to read them! What a great idea.

  47. Tatyana

    Neil and Laurie, it’s Yentl, not Yentyl.

  48. Neil

    Definition of shadchan. Also contains an OLD — and I mean OLD — Jewish joke:

    The story is told that a Roman matron once asked Rabbi Yosi: “How has your God been occupying his time since He finished the creation of the world?”

    “He has been busy pairing couples,” answered the Rabbi.

    She was astonished. “Is that His trade? Even I can do that job. As many man-servants and maid-servants as I have, I can pair.”

    “Perhaps it is a simple matter in your eyes,” replied the Rabbi. “For God, it is as intricate as the Splitting of the Sea.”

    She promptly placed one thousand man-servants opposite one thousand maidservants and declared, “He will marry her, she will marry him,” and so on.

    The next morning, two thousand servants came to her door, beaten and bruised, complaining, “I do not want her, I do not want him!”

    She sent for Rabbi Yosi, and conceded: “Rabbi, your Torah is true.”

  49. Neil

    Tatyana – Always the showoff. Kish mier en toochis! (Laurie, that’s Yiddish for kiss my ***)

  50. scott

    They say he has a temper
    He’ll beat you every night
    But only when he’s sober
    So you’re alright.

    Remember: Playing with matches a girl can get burned.

    Hello, Neil.

  51. Annie D.

    I’ve always loved the movie version of Fiddler on the Roof — especially the part where Hodel runs off with Starsky.

    And you, as a yenta for bloggers? Perfect! Like others have mentioned, I’ve found some of the best people and blogs through your blog roll.

  52. sandra

    Ooh, fun! I should do this too — I’m responsible for a real-life marriage (two, actually), so maybe I’d be good at this too!!

  53. tiff

    what a fabulous idea!!!

    Don’t know if I’d trade a whole blogroll, but a matchmaking between unlikely likely partners had such delicious potential.

  54. Ellen B.

    Oooo, using the Blog-a-Sphere just like a BBG and/or BBB (translation Bnai Brith Girls/Boys) dance! Love the idea. You’re such a mensch.

  55. Tatyana

    N, is that what you tell your editor when she attempts to correct your mistakes?

    Don’t sell me cat in the bag: you deliberately cut off your ass from the bed picture. How do I know it’s worth my showoffish lips?

  56. missmckay

    neil, what a cool idea. i’m looking forward to seeing how this unfolds :0)

  57. Felicity

    Oh Neil please please please match me up with someone! I’d like a new bloggy friend and someone outside my usual circle of erotically-focused folks and/or moms/moms of kids on the spectrum. Please!!!

  58. Nance

    Boy, are you going to be BUSY, Neil! Oh, and since you are the only truly authentic Jewish man I communicate with regularly–at present–did Seinfeld come up with the term “shiksappeal”, or is it an actual slang term in use by creative Jewish people?

  59. Neil

    Tatyana – I do say that to my editor, who if I know Sophia, she would have nixed this “Yenta” idea as boring and too similar to the “share my bed” one from last week. Look at me, Sophia, I’m blogging without an editor! Without a safety net! Soon, I’ll be skydiving (or at least driving a little over the speed limit).

    Nance – Oh, I’m only going to make ten matches. The rest is up to you. And I’ve never heard that expression outside of Seinfeld, so I don’t know if it is used. But , then again, I’m not really in with the hip Jewish clique.

    Also, when you say that I am the only “truly authentic Jewish man” you deal with, are you making a reference to one of my beloved body parts, and was I drunk when we had this encounter? And was I any good?

  60. wordgirl

    How about if I just turn two bloggers into friends. That might be easier.

  61. ElizaF

    OOh what a fabulous inspired idea,perhaps you could spread it by obliging all those matched to do a match of their own on their blog. Goodness this idea could go truely global and all thanks to you. If you match me with some unfortunate, I’ll do the same 🙂 E.

  62. Danny

    C’mon, Neil, you’re going to High Holy Day services at the gay and lesbian synagogue, you are SO in with the hip Jewish clique.

  63. JavaCurls

    What an absolutely fabulous idea!!
    I actually found YOUR site through V-grrrl’s blogroll.

    I don’t have a blogroll yet but I’d love it if you could find me a match. I’m curious who you would choose. So will you be my matchmaker? 😉

  64. Bama Girl

    How do you come up with so many awesome ideas, Neil? I’m excited to see the results of your little mixer tomorrow!
    By the way, I tried the iced mocha blended at The Coffee Bean and I am in love! There’s even a drive thru near my house! yea!!

  65. Pearl

    Neil, it is said that matches are made in heaven. Does that mean you’re G-d?

    It is said in Judaism that if you manage to match up three couples who then marry, you gain a place in the world to come. That is your reward!
    What do you get for matching up three sets of bloggers?

  66. Elisabeth

    Of course, I will be forever grateful that you “introduced” me to Danny. But I have met quite a few bloggers who are now on my blogroll through your blog, Neil.

    My aunt, a Catholic nun, always saw herself as the matchmaker who made my marriage possible, because she organized my one-year trip to the U.S., and I met my future husband during that trip.

    I love by the way, the French word “entremetteuse,” which is the equivalent of “matchmaker” (most often used in the feminine form. “Entremetteur” is kind of rare – matchmakers are often women.)

  67. Megan

    I’m definitely looking forward to the results of this experiment – I hope everyone that participates promises to report back and post about it!

  68. Mr. Fabulous

    It is hard to find matchmakers these days, what with disposable lighters being so readily available.

    That’s right. I went there.

    I just blew your mind, didn’t I? LOL

  69. question girl

    how ironic – i had “matchmaker” in my head all day… and i was going to start MY post today w/ the lyrics… but then i read this….

    it is SO MY TURN… sooooo..

    make him funny
    make him kind
    make him single….
    blog matcher blog matcher
    match me a blog
    find me a blog
    catch me a blog
    oh blog matcher blog matcher
    scan your blog roll
    And blog me a perfect match

  70. wendy

    Mrs. Doubfire is one of my Fav movies..with his Homage to Babs and Fiddler on the Roof…I did not know shiksa’s were considered HOT…I only knew that one boyfriends mom..said.”jokingly” that I was the definition of the word….I liked dating a jewish boy…I didn’t realize it was a rebellion..just fun….your post tomorrow should be interesting…I have found 2 new blogs from you…thanks!

  71. Sarcomical

    i swear, i never had that idea before, but now i’ll have it in my head all the time i have a feeling. 😉

  72. Leslie

    One little time you pull out a thread and where does it stop? Where does it stop? Where does it stop?

    I hope it doesn’t stop and that you come up with some wonder matches!

    Mazel Tov

  73. modigli

    what a great idea! Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a (blog) match! 🙂

    You’re so creative, Neil.

  74. V-Grrrl

    God, I’m so nervous–what blog persona to “wear” on a blind blog date? Do I go for the witty, fun comment or one that illustrates thoughtfulness and intellectual prowess? Do I show my vulnerable underbelly on a first blog date? I’m not GOOD at this after all these years.

    Blog matches I’ve made through Citizen of the Month so far: Elisabeth and I regularly get together, Deezee totally rocks my world, and Nance and I share anti-social tendencies and wry comments. Wordgirl and I go way back. I think her site brought you to mine.

  75. Rachel

    That all sounds exactly like my grandma

    and my mother

    and my great grandmother

    and my auntie

    and a few cousins

    my great grandma wonders why I am not married at 24

    my grandmother tries to match me up – but uses the paycheck as the sole deciding factor (forget the fact that he guy looks like a cross between a fish and gerbel. he is rich!)


    so wanna try to make a better match?

  76. CrankMama

    Hey, Yenta,
    Thanks for the match shout-out! I’m going right over and saying “hello” to my match.

  77. Shari

    I need one of these to find the right person for me and bring us together.I

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