Beshert by Charles Rammelkamp

“Stop kvetching!  Start dating!”

With horrified fascination
I read the e-mail in my spam folder
from a Jewish dating outfit,
so thankful to be married,
spared this nonsense –
the protective shield of matrimony –
crossing my fingers all this
will never affect me.

“Find your Jewish soulmate here!”
the screen proclaimed.
“It’s a part of tikkun olam,’”
another declared, “Hebrew for making
the world a better place.”:
the appeal to the lonelyhearted
couched in religious promises.

“Personal Jewish Intro’s for Busy Singles,”
yet another announced, 
the misused apostrophe 
the most depressing thing of all.

Full-figured, plus-size Jewish singles,
a “fun, easy way” to meet Jewish singles over 50,
same-sex singles: you name it,
there was a “fun, easy way.”
J-Date, Jew Fling, Jewcy, Jewcier:
the services got cuter and cuter.

I remembered Leo Finkle, 
the rabbinical student in the Malamud story, 
meeting with Salzman the marriage broker’s daughter,
her card plucked from the matchmaker’s magic barrel,
Salzman around the corner from them,
reciting prayers for the dead.

Charles Rammelkamp is Prose Editor for Brick House Books in Baltimore. Two full-length collections were published in 2020, Catastroika, from Apprentice House, and Ugler Lee from Kelsay Books. A poetry chapbook, Mortal Coil, has just been published by Clare Songbirds Publishing.
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