The Great Schlep Might Be Working

Ken AshfordElection 2008Leave a Comment

Two weeks ago, comedian Sarah Silverman and The Jewish Council for Education and Research launched The Great Schelp.  The purpose was to encourage youth to visit their grandparents in Florida (or, alternatively, to threaten NEVER to visit, I suppose) in order to convince them (the grandparents) to vote for Obama.  Here's the video:

CNN did a follow-up, and it appears to be having success:

Thousands of people pledged to call their relatives in Florida and more than 100 people volunteered to pay their own way to travel to the Sunshine State to campaign for Obama among Jewish voters, Wallach said.Bender saw the Silverman video on YouTube in Los Angeles, California, where he works as a writer. Despite the humor of Silverman's call to schlep, the video's message resonated with Bender because of the difficulty he faced convincing his own grandparents.

"I thought it was brilliant," Bender said.

He decided to go to Florida and try one more time.

When Bender recently returned to his grandparents' retirement community in Tamarac, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale, he was greeted with several surprises. Months of telephone conversations and his trip had paid off: His grandparents told him shortly after he arrived that they were going to support Obama.

The next surprise was that his schlep had generated interest around their retirement community.

A lot of interest. So many other seniors wanted to hear about Obama that the venue for a meeting on the subject had to be changed from the Furst's living room to a ballroom in the community's clubhouse.

An hour before Bender started to make his case about Obama on Sunday, groups of senior citizens were staking out space in the ballroom. Soon there were more than 100 people and no more chairs.

Sporting an Obama T-shirt with Hebrew writing on it, retiree Morty Brill said, "The economy, the war, you think you can trust Republicans to fix them?"

If there were any people in the room with reservations about Barack Obama, they kept those doubts to themselves.

As Bender told the crowd that Obama was not a Muslim and that Obama was a staunch supporter of Israel, he was met with heads nodding in agreement throughout the room.

Pretty cool.