Sunday, February 7, 2016

In Memory of Hella Selman

In Memory of Hella Selman

While Bob and I were in Los Angeles last week, visiting my son, we learned Hella Selman, a dear friend from our congregation, Beth Israel Worship Center in Wayne, NJ, passed from this life to her eternal home in Heaven. Hella was a Holocaust survivor and a Jewish believer in Yeshua/Jesus, the Messiah. Her ministry was "Hella Hellalujah Ministries". She eagerly shared her testimony far and wide.

One thing that delighted Hella's heart was that she considered herself to be the "matchmaker" for Bob and me. She preferred to use the Yiddish terminology, which designated Hella the shadchan who performed the shidduch (match). A few years ago, just for fun, I wrote a poem about her and she loved it. I am posting it here today in Hella's memory.

We will miss her. Hella was a sweet blessing to our lives and the lives of many at Beth Israel with her heart clearly on fire with love for Messiah. I can imagine her rejoicing now before the Throne in Glory!

Photo credit:

In memory of Hella Selman

Whenever Hella comes to mind
that catchy ditty from Fiddler on the Roof
plays merrily in my head—

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match
find me a find, catch me a catch…

Everyone knows
Jewish matchmakers traditionally make matches
between nice Jewish boys
and nice Jewish girls
then there’s a nice Jewish wedding
under a flowery huppah
he breaks the glass
she smiles
everybody shouts

Mazel Tov!

there’s some fancy catering
then they go home to make
nice Jewish babies
hopefully to live happily ever after

but this story is a bit different—
This is a non-traditional story
about a non-traditional matchmaker
a baptized, born again, ablaze with holy fire
“Hella Hellalujah” of a believer in Messiah Yeshua
one who delights in calling herself a shadchan
(which happens to be Yiddish for matchmaker)
a real Jewish shadchan who credits herself
with instigating a shidduch
(which is Yiddish for match)
between a couple of widowed gentiles
undeniably (though they will try to deny it)
past their prime

The woman said to her
(as kindly and emphatically as possible)

Please, please, no shidduch
oh dear beloved shadchan—
Sure, he’s a good man, a nice man, a mensch
but…It’s not going to happen—
I am never (!) going to marry again!

But Hella had a feeling
and she did a little shiddaching
(and more than a little praying)
and was among the first to applaud
when they announced
their matrimonial intentions
at the church picnic that summer

and marry, they did
under a fringed tallit, turned huppah
He broke the glass
and she smiled her most winsome smile
to rousing shouts of

Mazel Tov!

and after a little catering
and a honeymoon in Israel (where else?)
the two went home
(not to make babies, of course)
but simply to love one another
as Yeshua commanded

and they remain forever grateful
to Hella, the shadchan—
their dearly beloved personal shadchan
for finagling a little shidduch
a little…happily ever afterness—

          very loosely…

Fiddler style

Maude Carolan Pych

Beginning this Wednesday (Ash Wednesday) I will post a poem a day throughout Lent until Resurrection Day. I invite you to access the posts and share them. I also welcome your comments.


  1. Maude, Thank you for sharing this beautiful, moving poem! It makes wish I knew her.

  2. Thank you for commenting, Barbara. Hella was indeed, a delightful reflection of Messiah.