I saw Pirates of the Caribbean 2 in Israel this summer, which was interesting, because I don’t generally think of Jews and piracy (except maybe the odd internet music download theft, which isn’t really theft, but more like sharing, right? Isn’t it? Huh?) in the same thought. But since tomorrow (September 19th) is the one and only Talk Like a Pirate Day, it’s time that we learned the truth: that some pirates were actually Jews, expelled from Spain with nowhere to go but to the deck of the Black Pearl, or its non-fictional counterpart:
“The Jewish pirates were Sephardic. Once they were kicked out of Spain [in 1492], the more adventurous Jews went to the New World,” said Ed Kritzler, whose yet-untitled book on Jewish pirates will be published by Doubleday in spring 2007.
Jewish piracy has been around since well before the Barbary pirates first preyed on ships during the Crusades. In the time of the Second Temple, Jewish historian Flavius Josephus records that Hyrcanus accussed Aristobulus of “acts of piracy at sea.”
Kritzler has studied pirates for 40 years, and said that the public is fascinated with them because they’re “rugged individuals in a world of conformity. They carved their own identity, independent of the rules and strictures of society.”
Or, as Pee-Wee Herman once said, “I’m a loner, Dottie…a rebel.”So if your Jewish mother [not to be confused with our Jewish Mother who posts here and undoubtedly has her own opinion on this post] tells you that Jews can’t be pirates, you tell her, “can too!” and stomp off to your room and close the door, knowing, yet again, that you’re smarter than she is.
[Author’s note: I’m publishing this post at 3:34pm EST–let’s see how long it takes for CK to create a Jewish pirate photo via photoshop…]