Israeli group visits League of Women Voters in St. Louis

Pictured from left are: Eve Golden (League Board Member), Carol Portman (a past President of the Missouri State League of Women Voters), Ashi Fachler (photographer), Rutie Eckdish (translator/ interpreter), Lana Aizenshtadt (Founder/CEO, Kol Oleh NGO), Yael Boim-Fein (Head of Educational Programs, Beit Avichai), Samia Diab (Dep. Director, Leo Baeck Community Center), Nancy Miller (Co-President-elect, LWVMSTL) and Linda Claire McDaniel (Co-President, LWVMSTL). In the background are 15,000 copies of the Voter’s Guide for the April 4 election awaiting distribution. More than 300,000 copies of the guide were printed and distributed as a joint effort by the LWVMSTL and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Photo: J. Golden

Representatives of Israeli NGOs visited the League of Women Voters of Metro St. Louis (LWVMSTL) on March 23 for conversation on voter education and encouraging voting as part of the U.S. Dept. of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. The Israeli group met with several community organizations during its three-week, multi-state tour. 

The Israeli visitors were told about the role of the 1916 Women’s March in St. Louis on building support for the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 and on the formation of the League as a non-partisan organization to educate voters on candidates and issues, to help register voters, and to encourage voting.

Compiling the Voter’s Guide for local elections and conducting candidate forums are examples of the League’s activities that were described by Linda McDaniel, Nancy Miller, and Louise Wilkerson (Co-President-elect, not shown in photo).

The visitors described their organizations in Israel, which have missions that include voter education and engagement. The Leo Baeck Community Center, headquartered in Haifa, states its mission “to build a pluralistic society in the spirit of progressive Judaism, Zionism, democracy, and shared responsibility.”

Kol Oleh NGO in Tel Aviv is a non-partisan, grassroots “movement to inform, engage, and empower Olim (immigrants).” It holds candidate forums and provides language translation of voter information, which is especially important to the English speaking and the large Russian immigrant populations. Beit Avi Chai, part of the Avi Chai Foundation (New York and Israel) is a cultural center that “seeks to collect and publicize the various facets of Israeli-Jewish society, provide them a forum, and let them influence Israeli society and culture.”