Karina and I went away to the Hamptons for a couple days before the “High Holiday Rush.” We saw a number of wonderful sites, including the Montauk Point Lighthouse. One of the most interesting to me, however, was seeing an Israeli flag on a store in Westhampton called Shock. Naturally we had to go investigate. We found out that the owner of 3 of the stores (including a womens clothing store and an ice cream shop) is Jewish. We also read a newspaper article posted outside one of her stores that spoke about the commotion caused by her putting up a 6 foot tall waffle cone outside her ice cream shop. For more about that incident, please read here
Since these articles, the ice cream cone has been moved inside the shop.
My favorite quotation (from the second article) is that the owner sometimes pushes the line promoting her business. Pushing the line (or “chutzpah”) is often thought of as a bad thing, being against the politically correct norms of society. However, I would argue that in some cases it is good. Putting a 6 foot tall ice cream cone definitely promotes ones business. Similarly, putting an Israeli flag outside ones store sends a clear message about where one stands. Chabad’s Chanukah mobile and mobile Sukkah indicate to the community the importance of being proud of who we are as a people and not being afraid to flaunt that to the world. In addition, pushing for an eruv (as recently passed in Westhampton) sends a similarly strong message about standing up for what is important to us. What is perceived as “chutzpah” to one could very well be standing up for one’s values to others.
Next time you hear the term “chuzpah” or “pushing the line” think of some of the positive connotations the term can connote.