Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

‘Relationship Rabbi’ Finds Oxford Suitors for Roseanne’s Daughters

May 11, 1999
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The good news is that Roseanne may have finally found three nice Jewish boys as suitors for her three daughters.

The bad news is that the boys live in England and the girls in Los Angeles.

American television viewers can watch the long-distance romance with an all- Jewish cast unfold on “The Roseanne Show” on May 20 and 25, but first some background.

A few months ago, the outspoken television host voiced a desperate motherly plea for volunteers willing to marry her daughters and fulfill her dream of becoming a grandmother.

She stipulated some rigid requirements: Suitors must be Jewish, mentally stable, have most of their teeth, and not be money-sucking leeches.

In return, she offered “girls who never get up, always complain, and who are lazy and smoke.”

Despite this tempting inducement, few worthy candidates applied. Roseanne’s quest seemed stymied, until an expert matchmaker recently materialized on her show, in the person of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.

The 32-year old Orthodox rabbi was barnstorming across the United States, pitching his best-selling book “Kosher Sex” and the just-released “Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments.”

Born in Los Angeles, Boteach was sent to England by the Lubavitch movement 11 years ago, where he founded the L’Chaim Society at Oxford University as “a high-profile Jewish education organization that hosts world figures and promotes Jewish culture.”

Well, Roseanne and Boteach quickly realized that the 1,000 Jewish students at Oxford represented a large pool of eligible young men who might prove the answer to a mother’s prayer.

The rabbi, who knows a mitzvah — not to mention a great publicity gimmick – – when he sees one, promised to hasten back to Oxford and return with “three strapping British lads” of the Jewish faith.

As good as his word, Boteach returned last week with the three lads, who were met by a black stretch limousine and whisked to the upscale Bel Age Hotel.

They weren’t all British, or all Oxford students, but indeed highly presentable, obviously intelligent, and well-mannered enough to treat the lark as the serious foray into Jewish matchmaking envisioned by Boteach, who calls him self “The Relationships Rabbi.”

At the following day’s taping, the three lads introduced themselves to Roseanne and two million potential television viewers. They were Dorian Barag, 27, of Los Angeles and Scott Silverman, 24, of Chicago, both attending Oxford on scholarships, and Jay Sinclair, 24, a London kosher caterer.

Their predetermined dates, in the above order, were Brandi, 27, Jennifer, 22, and Jessica, 23.

That evening, the three couples, with TV crew in tow, were chauffeured to the trendy Tokyo Delve’s Sushi Bar, and then danced the night away at the Redrock Bar on the Sunset Strip.

A day later, the couples returned to the studio to tape the second segment and to brief Roseanne and Boteach on the results of their matchmaking efforts.

Here are some excerpts from the ensuing dialogue:

Jessica: “Jay is very sincere and down to earth. He’s not a liar or a freak.”

Roseanne: “Is there romance in the air?”

Jessica: “I like him.”

Roseanne: “Wow, fantastic.”

(Enthusiastic audience applause)

And a little later:

Scott: “Jennifer is a beautiful woman, the woman of every man’s dreams. We had spectacular conversations.”

Boteach: “I am a super matchmaker. I dare not fail and I’ll follow them all year. If you guys dare go out with other women, you’ll have to deal with me.

“This is a kosher relationship. The boys put the girls first; they are not ashamed to show their affection.” (To Roseanne) All you have to do now is bring the glass and the chupah.”

On this promising note, hosts and visitors parted with the promise to meet in London for a follow-up show.

Recommended from JTA