Moishe, You Wild Thing – Kveller
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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.

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