A new Jewish dating site has just been established – but it is a site with a difference. It aims to bring together young people of Iraqi-Jewish descent.
The site was started by Cynthia Kaplan Shamash and is called El-Delala. Traditionally Jewish marriages in Iraq were arranged by the Delala – the matchmaker. Couples trusted the Delala to find the perfect match. Sometimes the couple met for the first time at their engagement party.
One of the founders of El-Delala, Cynthia Kaplan Shamash
Baghdad-born Cynthia fled Iraq as a child and wrote about her displacement in ‘The Strangers we became. She ‘has five children herself and is married to an Ashkenazi American.
So why did Cynthia start this project?
“We started this site with hesitation. On the one hand, our Babylonian Jewish community, which is dispersed worldwide, wants very much to integrate. On the other hand, our customs are a part of us, even if we are geographically scattered. There is definitely a familiarity that is unique. This is exactly what we are trying to match.
Whether you are a first-, second-, or third-generation Judeo-Iraqi descendant, we can help. Even if the connection is through just one side of your parents or grandparents, or even if you feel it through any of your family’s history, we can help.
How can we be so far apart, and yet have a sense of bringing people together to share the same customs and familiar traditions, if they so wish? That is why we formed this website, EL’ DELALA. EL’ DELALA (The Matchmaker) is the traditional and progressive way of bridging the distance in bringing two people together. “