Jewish Pirate! Beware! Beware!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.

[From BoingBoing, who got it from the Jewish Journal, but with a generous todah rabah to Jewlicious birthright participant Barri for tipping me off…] [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…]

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.

4 Comments

  • And quite a lovely pirate at that Esther! Who knew Jean Lafitte was Jewish? The famous Battle of New Orleans, America’s first military victory as a united country, would have been lost without him & his pirate ‘rabble’, and very valuable cannons. Always nice to know these things… Cheers mate! ‘VJ’

  • 1. sure he was a pirate, but he called his mother every weekend.

    2. of course we should have known they were pirates.. they all had beards: blue beard, black beard, etc.

    3. if Rashi could be a vintner, and the resh lakish a robber, i guess others could be pirates

    4. we endured books on jewish mobsters, indicted jewish wall streeters, and even senator allen.. so i guess we can endure a book on pirates

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