Look, I wasn’t even Jewish, nor born, in 1963 when “Where the Wild Things Are” came out. It would be another 20 years after its roll out until I was born, another 5 years after that, at least, until I got my first copy of the book and another 47 years after publication for me to become Jewish “officially”.
…and yet, this morning as I rolled over to check my BlackBerry, I, too, was punched in the heart a little to hear that Maurice Sendak had passed.
Seven hours later, I finally am getting a moment to reflect. I stumbled upon the Colbert interview with Sendak a few years back, wherein Sendak proudly clarifies that he is a gay man.
Which means that it took just shy of 50 years since “Where the Wild Things Are” for me to also know that he was a gay man.
Maybe I knew and just overlooked it. Maybe it really was my first time hearing it a few moments ago. But, to know that an author whom I enjoyed for his innovation and outward directness was also a homosexual propels me to strive further to be a visible Queer Jewish person.
Because regardless if I am out or not – which I am -, children evidently will always have LGBTQ Jewish role models, whether or not they realize it themselves almost fifty years after one of their favorite picture books is launched into circulation…
Check out my message to anyone out there who may need an extra boost of support in being who they are: