Schlepping for the Vote: Comedian Sarah Silverman Sends Jewish Grandchildren Descending on Florida

Across the country, young Jews are heeding comedian Sarah Silverman’s call to have a political pep-talk with their grandparents in Florida. The message is: Don’t let bubbe and zaideh vote McCain.

Silverman’s video, below, urges the Jewish grandchildren of America to employ cruel threats – no more visits to God’s Waiting Room unless nanna and papa vote Obama.

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.

We caught up with one schlepper, Becky Gluskin, a 26-year-old PhD candidate from Manhattan. She shared how her weekend visit to 80-something-year-old grandma Helen in Lantana swayed one more vote to Obama.

What motivated you to make The Great Schlep?

I visit her at least once a year, so I had booked the flight a while ago. I kind of just assumed that she was going to vote for Obama – she has been a Democrat for many years. But then seeing that Sarah Silverman video reminded me that I should probably just make sure. I wasn’t going to threaten her with not visiting – it’s a pretty awful threat. If it came to threats, the worst I could have done was maybe told her I wasn’t going to eat all my food.

When did you broach the subject?

I brought it up right after playing Scrabble. I let her line up the word ‘dizzy’ right near the triple-word score, and as soon as she put down ‘zoo’ she was a lot happier and more receptive to any political talk. Usually we talk about food and family, not politics.

Who was Grandma planning to vote for?

She was a Hillary supporter, originally. She was really excited about a woman possibly being president. She told me she had waited all her life for that.

What concerns did she have about Obama?

She thought maybe he was kind of young. I think it was more disappointment on the Hillary side than anything against Obama. She was kind of apathetic. She wasn’t going to vote.

How did she respond to your Obama pitch?

She wanted to know why I cared so much. I told her that things are getting pretty scary in the economy, and I thought that Obama was definitely more qualified for the job in terms of that. I thought that McCain’s nomination of Sarah Palin was a bit insulting and a little scary if his health is not 100%. She likes her [five] grandchildren. I don’t know why, but she thinks we might know more, so she listens whenever we talk.

So is Grandma going to vote Obama?

Now I think she’s going to get out there. I was trying to tell her that it was important, that if she didn’t vote it was kind of like a vote for McCain. The fact that she sees that all her grandkids are pretty excited about Obama, I think she’s kind of proud to support him. So yeah, she’s gonna get on the little granny bus [in the retirement community] and go to the voting polls.

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Amy Guthrie
Contact: Amy Guthrie