Jewish Shows and Movies That Celebrate the Art of Jewish Matchmaking – Kveller
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Jewish Shows and Movies That Celebrate the Art of Jewish Matchmaking

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match!


It feels like ages since the first season of “Jewish Matchmaking” came out and brought us all a renewed appreciation for the art of the shidduch, or Jewish matchmaking. It’s a tradition as old as the story of our people — some would argue God was the original “shadchan,” or matchmaker in Hebrew. He did literally make a match for Adam, after all.

The art of the shidduch is approached differently in various Jewish communities, and the role was historically more common among Ashkenazi Jews than Sephardis. Yet, there’s just something about the Jewish matchmaker that inspires the imagination. That’s probably why there are plenty of wonderful onscreen stories about Jewish matchmakers that came well before and after the hit Netflix show. So today, let us celebrate the Jewish matchmaking on TV and film.

“Fiddler on the Roof”

“Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match!” Is there a song that has brought Jewish matchmaking to greater prominence? Yenta the matchmaker is just one of the iconic Jewish figures from the musical that takes place in the fictional old country town of Anatekva. Yes, the tale is about how the tradition (TRADITION!) of matchmaking can be oppressive and irrelevant to a younger generation that wants to find love in its own ways, but the wistfulness and hopefulness of Hodel and Chava in finding the perfect Jewish match is one that persists to this day of internet dating.

“Millionaire Matchmaker”

Before there was “Jewish Matchmaking” and “Indian Matchmaking,” there was the 2008 “Millionaire Matchmaker,” which aired for eight whole season on Bravo. At its helm was Patti Stanger, a third generation Jewish matchmaker from New Jersey. Both her grandmother and her mother, Rhoda, were yentas at their local temple, helping fellow congregants meet their bashert, or soulmate.

But Stanger saw the potential in making the art, passed down through generations, into a career. And she had the chutzpah to do it. In many ways, Stanger is the antithesis to Aleeza Ben Shalom of “Jewish Matchmaking” — she’s brash, she tells it like it is and she isn’t known for being gentle or all that inclusive. Yet those qualities are what made people keep coming back to watch her take apart rich men and women, week after week.

The show is currently streaming on Netflix, and a new show about Stanger is meant to air sometime in 2024.

“Hello, Dolly!”

Dolly Levi, the matchmaker at the heart of “Hello, Dolly!” is not Jewish — she gets her last name from her late husband. But she is played by Barbra Streisand, and her love interest, also not Jewish, is played by Jewish actor Walter Mattheau. Some could argue that Dolly is the original “half-a-millionaire” matchmaker, and that the actual matchmaker in this movie is Dolly’s Jewish late husband, who sends her a sign that changes her love life.


“Crossing Delancey”

Is there a matchmaker more iconic than the one played by Sylvia Myles in “Crossing Delancey?” Hannah Mandelbaum is a little cooky, a little edgy, is always donning some leopard print and somehow, through it all, really knows her stuff. Pairing an independent modern woman with a Lower East Side pickle man doesn’t sound like a recipe for success, but it truly is. What a yenta.

“Hanukkah on Rye”

Mrs. Mizansky, the matchmaker in “Hanukkah on Rye,” Hallmark’s lovely 2022 Hanukkah movie, feels like the least Jewish matchmaker I’ve ever seen on film. She looks like an elderly Mary Poppins, and you don’t hear her kvetch even once. And yet, she does make a perfect match through her old school, matchmaking penpal service, bringing together the progeny of two very good looking Jews — played by Yael Grobglas and Jeremy Jordan — who both come from families that run Jewish delis.

“The Matchmaker”

This 2010 film by Avi Nesher is based on a story from “When Heroes Fly,” a novel by Amir Gutfreund turned into a TV series. It’s about the friendship between a young boy and a local matchmaker, Holocaust survivor Yankel Braiyd, played by comedian Adir Miller, who hires him to help him with his business. It’s a very non-traditional look at the business of matchmaking, but it still has a lot to say about love.


I am so obsessed with the portrayal of matchmakers in “Shtisel,” with their long notebooks and their rotary phones. There’s Kenigsberg, the veteran matchmaker played by the late Avraham Mor, and then amazing comedian Hana Lazlo who takes over for him as Kenigsberg’s late widow, Menukha, who also becomes a potential love interest for Shulem. The Israeli series also shows where matchmaking dates in the Haredi community often take place: in public, well lit cafes and hotel lobbies.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is a show about incredible women finding their footing and their voice in life. And the way Rose Weissman, Midge Maisel’s mom, finds her voice in the end is as a matchmaker — and not just a matchmaker, but one that takes on a local NYC matchmaking cabal and wins. It’s a reminder of how generations of Jewish women found independence and meaning through helping others find love.

“Jewish Matchmaking”

Those looking for long-lasting marriages may not have found their satisfaction in the first season of this Netflix show, but those who were looking to fall in love with Jewish matchmaking itself found their match in the inclusive, kind and gracious Aleeza Ben Shalom, who saw beauty in every Jewish person and their personal connection to Judaism and worked hard to find matches for them who saw that beauty, too.

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