a Jewish arranged marriage. The Shidduch (Hebrew: שִׁדּוּךְ, pl. shidduchim שִׁדּוּכִים, Aramaic שידוכין) is a system of matchmaking in which Jewish singles are introduced to one another in Orthodox Jewish communities for the purpose of marriage.
In Orthodox Jewish circles, dating is limited to the search for a marriage partner. Both sides (usually the singles themselves, parents, close relatives or friends of the persons involved) make inquiries about the prospective partner, e.g. on his/her character, intelligence, level of learning, financial status, family and health status, appearance and level of religious observance.
A shidduch often begins with a recommendation from family members, friends or others who see matchmaking as a mitzvah, or commandment. Some engage in it as a profession and charge a fee for their services. Usually a professional matchmaker is called a shadchan, but anyone who makes a shidduch is considered the shadchan for it.
After the match has been proposed, the prospective partners meet a number of times to gain a sense of whether they are right for one another. The number of dates prior to announcing an engagement may vary by community. In some, the dating continues several months. In stricter communities, the couple may decide a few days after originally meeting with each other. Also the age when shidduchim start may vary by community. In frum circles, especially among Hassidim, eighteen is the age when shidduchim start and shadchanim take notice.
Those who support marriage by shidduch believe that it complies with traditional Judaism’s outlook on Tzeniut, modest behaviour in relations between men and women, and prevents promiscuity. It may also be helpful in small Jewish communities where meeting prospective marriage partners is limited, and this gives them access to a broader spectrum of potential candidates.
If the shidduch does not work out, then usually the shadchan is contacted and it is he/she that tells the other side that it will not be going ahead. If the shidduch works out then the couple inform the shadchan of its success.