Chutzpah—An Essay

I always love it when someone is outed for committing an act of “chutzpah.”

When I see it, I yell, “What a case of  chutzpah. He’s got a really big set of balls on him or as my Spanish-speaking friends might say, cojones grandes to be so galling.”

You see, chutzpah is a Yiddish word meaning to commit an audaious, imprudent or a galling act.

And with every good definition comes an example.

And this week’s example of chutzpah occurs at Columbia University. Yup, the Ivy located in NYC, where a 33-year old, keffiyeh wearing, pro-Palestinian protestor, Johannah King-Slutzky—seeking a PhD in English and Comparative Literature—asked an audience of reporters for food and drinks for the trespassers occupying Hamilton Hall.

Of course, the media mocks her for her audaciousness.

But I want you to hear Johannah’s exact words,

“Do you want students to die of dehydration and starvation or get severely ill even if they disagree with you? If the answer is no, then you should allow basic… I mean, it’s crazy to say because we’re on an Ivy League campus, but this is like basic humanitarian aid we’re asking for…’’

Johannah, you’re right it is a crazy request as is the cause you’re fighting for.

But we live in a crazy world and these are crazy times which leads me ask four questions:

  1. Isn’t it chutzpah for Columbia to educate left-wing wackos, when our country desperately needs the Ivys to produce a much higher class of students;

2. Isn’t it chutzpah for Columbia to offer a degree in English and Comparative Lit? When no one has landed a job with that degree since 1971. Columbia owns a truckload of chutzpah for offering this degree to its naïve students;

3. Isn’t it chutzpah for Columbia to accept students that are delusional? Have they no standards when it comes to an applicant’s mental health?;

4. Is Johannah King-Slutzky Jewish? If so, that’s chutzpah. A member of the tribe helping out terrorists that just murdered 1,200 Israeli men, women and babies and still holds over 100 hostages.

Okay, in Johannah’s defense both of her parents are psychologists and we know that that could “F” anybody up.

And with a name like Slutzky, she must have had one-hell-of-a-tough time in middle school.

But when I learn that King-Slutzky’s university research is focused on “theories of the imagination and poetry as interpreted through a Marxian lens in order to update and propose an alternative to historicist ideological critiques of the Romantic imagination,” I thought, if my research focused on that topic, I wouldn’t be a pro-Palestinian protestor, I’d just blow my brains out or I’d want someone to wring my neck with my black and white keffiyeh until I turned purple and died.

Now that would be an ultimate act of chutzpah.

About the Author
Florida's Jewish short-story writer, speaker, film producer and retired attorney. He has authored, "A Hebraic Obsession", "The Hanukkah Bunny" and "The Greatest Gift." He produced an award-winning short film entitled, "The Stairs". Movie can be viewed on my TOI blog. ChatGPT says, Mort is known for his works that often explore themes of love, loss, and the human connection. Laitner has published several books , including “A Hebraic Obsession.” His writing style is characterized by its emotional depth and introspection. Laitner’s works have garnered praise for their heartfelt expression and keen insight into the human experience.
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