She’s like the Millionaire Matchmaker, but a little less flashy. Tova Weinberg, a 60-year-old matchmaker in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, estimates she’s introduced about 250 Jewish couples who have ended up tying the knot.
Mark Oppenheimer, our interim editor-in-chief, spoke to Weinberg for his latest New York Times Beliefs column, and while the modern Orthodox matchmaker doesn’t have a reality show (yet?), she seems like she’d be ripe for the task. “A conversation with her involves a lot of listening; a lot of Baruch Hashems; and talk of finding one’s bashert, one’s destiny, or soul mate,” Oppenheimer writes.
Weinberg began setting people up when she moved to New York in 1976. She met her own bashert—a doctor, no less—and the two moved to Pittsburgh, where she eventually stopped practicing dentistry and began setting up couples full-time (at no charge; a rarity in the business).
“There was so much intermarriage in Pittsburgh, I felt I had to do something,” she said. “I started talking to all these women’s organizations. I said: ‘Listen, I have men! My husband knows all these residents and interns. Give me your daughters, I have the boys!’”
Though she may be a bit unorthodox (she offered one of her sons $10,000 to find his sister a husband; it worked), she’s not exactly the most modern matchmaker. As Oppenheimer writes, Weinberg will work with gay clients—provided they’re looking to enter a straight marriage.
While that might be enough to turn potential clients off, Weinberg seems to be keeping busy in Pittsburgh. She immediately sized up the married Oppenheimer as a potential match for a nice meydele. After inquiring as to his marital status, Weinberg “wrinkled her nose and said, in a disappointed tone, ‘Oh, O.K. Never mind.’”
You can read the column here.
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.