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Students 'schlep' To Sway Relatives To Obama

This story was written by Nandini Balial, Washington Square News


When Zack Shlachter learned that his grandmother refused to vote for Sen. Barack Obama for president, he knew he had to do something.

Shlachter, a junior at the University of Missouri at Columbia, called and e-mailed his Bubbe to convince her to vote for the Democratic candidate.

I essentially told her that I believe in him, that all of her grandchildren would be voting for him and that most of her grandchildren are similarly biracial and we all have funny names just like Obama, he said. Shlachter is half-white and half-Indian but raised Jewish.

This election season, Jewish grandchildren all over the United States are schlepping to crucial swing states such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan to convince their grandparents to vote for Obama as part of The Great Schlep, a project of the Jewish Council for Education and Research.

Our goal was to educate Jewish-Americans in this election cycle, said Ari Wallach, The Great Schleps co-founder. We wanted to start a conversation.

It seems to have worked: According to Wallach, hundreds actually traveled to states like Florida during Columbus Day weekend to make their case for Obama face-to-face, while thousands more hit the phones.

Comedian Sarah Silverman helped ignite additional public interest with a viral video in which she urges Jewish youth to visit their grandparents and convince them to vote Democrat.

Barack Obama is the goodest [sic] person weve ever had as a presidential choice, she says in the video.

Eventually, even Shlachters Bubbe came around.

She sent me a lemon cake and cookies and a note that said, Dont worry Im voting for your man. It was really touching, Shlachter said. But Im still going to call her Monday night to make sure.

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