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tanger grew up in New Jersey, the adopted daughter of Ira Stanger, who worked in New York City’s garment district, and Rhoda Goldstein, a part-time clerk for Macy’s and the now-defunct high-end giftware retailer Settings.
Her father, she says, “hated when my mom worked.” Stanger was raised Jewish — she calls herself a “food Jew” — and her show has a Jewish feel.
She often talks of doing a “mitzvah,” or a good deed, for a client, or of finding his “bashert,” a Yiddish term that means literally “destiny” but is colloquially used to refer to one’s divinely predestined soul mate.
Stanger is part of a tradition of socially conservative and, in fact, Jewish voices in pop culture that acknowledge fundamental differences between the sexes and call for a standard of conduct to govern the relationship between them. Laura Schlessinger, who talks openly about her conservative politics and traditional values. Drew Pinsky, who for years now has used his various radio and television platforms to criticize the hook-up culture and warn about the dangers of casual sex. Feminism, Careerism, and Secularism Are to Blame Stanger is neither particularly political nor particularly religious.
She’s a third-generation matchmaker, but the first in her family to make a career out of it.
Some matches work, some don’t, but Stanger likes to say that all her clients learn something.
“I’m not a Republican or a Democrat,” she tells me.
“I’m more for the best person.” She loves Hillary Clinton and “would like to see a woman president, but a smart woman, not a stupid woman — maybe a businesswoman.” She has worked as a psychic and an astrologer and once consulted a rabbi to ask why she was still single (she broke off an engagement some years ago and is now dating the mortgage banker David Krause).
“Well, if the two people are subdued, they might as well be corpses in the ground,” Stanger says.
“So, you don’t like aggressive girls, you need to be the leader, you need to be the aggressive one, you need to collect those Bambis in the woods.” published a piece headlined “True Confessions: The Millionaire Matchmaker — WTF Am I Watching This?