Moishe, You Wild Thing


Before moving to Israel, we spent an inordinate amount of time at Barnes and Noble where I would stalk anyone with a baby in the hopes of maybe– just maybe–having a little adult interaction. (No, blasting gangsta rap in the car with Little Homie and M does not cut it.) One of the lasts times I was there before hauling ass to Israel, I noticed a bunch of stuffed animal “Wild Things” (from Maurice Sendak’s classic) on sale.

I knew I had to buy one– if not for M and Little Homie, then for me –(besides, who can argue with half off?) so I took my new frowzy-haired, hairy-footed friend up to the counter and handed him to the Barnes and Noble clerk.

“Oh, Moishe is my favorite, too!” he said with a wide smile.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Moishe. You know–the Wild Thing!” he replied, holding the stuffed creature and shaking it for emphasis.

“Moishe? As in MOISHE Moishe?!?!” I asked, sounding like a Yiddish broken record.

“Yes, Moishe. Jewish for Moses.” Answered the clerk.

“I’m familiar with the name Moishe.” I said coldly. “Why are you calling him that?”

Bernard. With horns!

I must have sounded as indignant as I felt because the clerk answered defensively: “I didn’t name him! Maurice Sendak did!”


“Maurice Sendak named all of the Wild Things after his aunts and uncles. This one is Moishe.”

“So I gather.” I replied.

“The blue one with the horns is Bernard–but I call him Bernie. The girl-one with the long stringy hair and big nose is Sipi.”

“Sipi as in Zipporah?”

“I guess. But I don’t speak Jewish, so I’m not sure.”

So, I bought Moishe, and a few days later, after finding Bernard on, I got him, too. M and Little Homie love their new fuzzy and frightening friends, and yes, while I enjoy knowing that Maurice Sendak chose to “represent” by selecting such blatantly Jewish names for his famous Wild Things, I wonder if he’s doing our people an incredible disservice by giving these repugnant creatures with hairy feet, humped backs, hooked noses, and horns such obviously Jewish names.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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