Baltimore, MD - Feb. 16, 2021 - In early December of 2015, a call was placed to Rebbetzin Aviva Weisbord, z’l, asking her to speak at the very first Shidduch Center event, subsequent to the reconstitution of our organization. Characteristically, her initial response was one of humility and humor, and she suggested that perhaps we should reach out to someone more qualified and of a higher caliber than herself for such a landmark occasion. After having a good laugh, we rejoined that we would be more than happy to oblige and honor her request, except for the slight problem that we really did not know of anyone more qualified or of a higher caliber than she. After a spirited back and forth, and relatively minimal further demurring, to our great delight, Rebbetzin Weisbord graciously acquiesced to speak for us. And though it goes without saying, the event remains one of our most successful and enlightening evenings on record.
From that moment forward, Rebbetzin Weisbord did not miss a single Shidduch Center community event that we can recall, and she fast became a stalwart and staunch supporter of our work. She gave generously of her time, energy, and consummate wisdom whenever needed, emerging as a primary source of guidance for The Shidduch Center of Baltimore. She never needed, and certainly did not ask for, the affording of any public recognition, or any official position within the organization. She was simply happy to help because she cared deeply for the single men and women of our community, just as she cared for anyone and everyone in need of help, guidance, or encouragement. How she was able to give so freely of herself for an organization in which she held no official title and had no official responsibilities will always be beyond us, and for her plentiful contributions on so many fronts, we will be eternally grateful.
As a token of our profound appreciation, and as a tribute to Rebbetzin Weisbord for her irreproducible and irreplaceable superhuman efforts, it is our pleasure and privilege to name The Shidduch Center’s new dating venue, The Dating Place, in her honor and in her memory.
As fall turned to winter, a great many calls were received by The Shidduch Center from community members seeking a suitable place to date. Indoor options were few and far between due to COVID, and outdoor options were fast becoming untenable due to the frigid temperatures. In response, The Shidduch Center engineered a new option, aptly named The Dating Place. Located in the Office Suites at The DoubleTree Hilton Hotel, The Dating Place opened its doors on Jan. 1, 2021, in order to provide a winter and COVID-friendly place for those in shidduchim to date. Since that time, it has hosted over 100 daters, delivering them a fun, dignified, and accessible space to continue their journey to the chupah.
The Dating Place consists of five rooms surrounding a shared atrium that have all been completely reimagined and redesigned, especially with our dating men and women in mind. Each room has been supplied with new and contemporary furniture, immaculately chosen and laid out by the expert design team at Spotlight, and affords ample privacy to each couple. All rooms have been plied with snacks and popular dating games; a game room hosts a ping-pong table, foosball, magnetic dartboard, and over-the-door basketball hoop; and an activity room is home to a number of popular and creative dating games made to assist in crafting constructive conversation and furthering the dating process. The shared atrium is stocked with more snacks and drinks and a coffee maker, along with additional dating games and activities for daters to bring to their room.
All told, whether a couple is looking for an elegant room to simply sit and talk, or an area to delve into more interactive dating endeavors, The Dating Place has it. It has been tailored to address the needs of couples at various stages of the dating process, and incorporates a wide variety of dating activity options. So much so, in fact, that some of our couples have returned multiple times to take advantage of all that The Dating Place has to offer. Additionally, The Shidduch Center is offering private homes for dating couples, as another option when The Dating Place is full, or for those who might prefer that venue.
With the approval of Rabbi Hopfer, a system of hostesses was instituted – a kind and devoted collection of community members who have donated hours upon hours of their time to help oversee The Dating Place – to ensure that all the halachos of yichud are adhered to, without infringing on the couples, or causing them any uneasiness. Indeed, the daters who have passed through our doors have expressed effusive appreciation for the tasteful and unobtrusive system that has been adopted, allowing them to date comfortably and effectively, all well within the bounds of proper shmiras halacha.
The Dating Place has truly provided a critical need for our community’s single men and women, and that The Shidduch Center has grown to the level that it is able to undertake such a monumental task is in no small part thanks to the direction and support of Rebbetzin Aviva Weisbord, z’l. It is our tefilah that The Dating Place cultivates and creates countless simchos for our community for as long as circumstances call for its continuance, and may each moment of joy experienced therein be a zechus for the holy neshama of Aviva bas Moreinu HaRav Shmuel Yaakov. Y’hi zichra baruch.
For more information about The Dating Place, and to learn how to reserve a room, please visit www.ShidduchCenter.org/The-Dating-Place.