The Perfect Match
A heart-to-heart with Aleeza Ben Shalom, longtime matchmaker and host of a new Netflix series about love and dating.
by Debra Wallace

How did Aleeza Ben Shalom become the host of Jewish Matchmaking, a new reality show from Netflix? She says the series found her.

“They contacted one of my matchmaker friends to see if she wanted to audition for Jewish Matchmaking,” recalls Ben Shalom, a full-time matchmaker and dating coach from Bala Cynwyd. “My friend told the producer that I have the right personality, am engaging, and that I tend to speak off the cuff, and Netflix called me.”
The eight-episode series began streaming on Netflix in May. In each episode, Ben Shalom visits singles from around the United States and Israel who are ready to settle down and get married. After talking to singles and their family members, she whittles down their likes and dislikes with a clear goal in mind: to form relationships built to last a lifetime.
“Anyone can stick two people together,” she explains in the first episode. “The problem is: How do they stay together for a lifetime?”
You say that being a matchmaker and helping singles find that connection is the hardest job in the world. Please explain.

Almost anything is easier than finding your person. You want to get a job? You can get a job. You need to find a house? You find a house. If it’s not your favorite house you can always move. But finding a human being who you choose to say, “Sure, I’d love to live with you for the rest of my life,” is not easy. It’s about bringing two completely different worlds together and saying, “We’re going to figure out how to make this work.”

It’s difficult to match up personality, values, religion, background, future, and what we want to do in life, and that we not only get together but then we choose to stay together and choose to grow together for a lifetime. To me, that’s a really challenging process.
You made more than 200 successful marriage matches before the show came along. You must be very proud of that.
There’s no greater pleasure than bringing people together. … I develop a very close relationship with the people that I work with, and they send me updates and photos five or 10 years later. This is all about building these relationships that last a lifetime.
Talk about the universality of the show.
We have Jewish wisdom for the world. … The deepest learning is that we have very smart, good wisdom to share about love, dating, marriage, and the process. I take concepts that I think are high level, and I break them down into what I would call plain language so that anybody can take part in this process. The concept and the advice can be for anybody; it’s really not exclusive to the Jewish people. I love that we can take extremely deep concepts and make them bite-sized and appropriate.
Many people looking for love get in their own way. How do we avoid doing that?
Not getting in our own way involves recognizing where we’re putting up roadblocks. It involves recognizing that what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working, and having an openness and willingness to try something in a different way, and getting the right support along the way. Finding somebody whose advice and wisdom resonates with you and then following it is really smart. I think it’s easier when you have a little bit more of a clear path and a guide.
As our grandmas used to say, “There is a lid for every pot.” Do you agree?
I am going to take it one step further. There’s more than a lid for every pot—just only one lid at a time. This is how soulmates work. You find your person, and it is, “Yay, that’s my person.” If somebody dies, or if there’s a divorce, OK, there is no lid anymore; we have to find a new lid. From ages 18 to 120, for your entire life, there’s always a possibility for you to meet somebody. There is always a lid for your pot—only one lid at one time.
How did Jewish Matchmaking change you, both personally and professionally?
It helped me to level up and be even more conscious of the messages that I’m sharing. I come to this set completely unscripted, so I come to work and I don’t know what is going to happen. I did prepare in terms of thinking, in general, what messages I want to deliver and how I will deliver them. I shared the wisdom that was most important to me, and I wanted those messages delivered because I knew that those things were heartfelt and deeply within people’s hearts.
Photo courtesy of Netflix
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life magazine, June 2023.