Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pirates Oy Vey!

As a synthesis of two posts I've recently blogged, Scionology on Jewish ancestors, and The Knights of St. John, about Muslim pirates, Christian Knights and Jewish financiers in the sixteenth century Mediteranean, we now present you with this story, via YNET, about Jewish pirates in the Caribbean.
Jewish pirates were Sephardic. Once they were kicked out of Spain (in 1492), the more adventurous Jews went to the New World.

A ... famous Jewish pirate ... was Jean Lafitte, aka, the Corsair or the Buccaneer. His family fled from Spain for France in 1765 after his maternal grandfather was put to death for Judaism.

Along with his 'crew of a thousand men', Lafitte sometimes receives credit forhelping free Louisiana from the British in the war of 1812, with his nautical raids along the Gulf of Mexico.

In his journals, Lafitte describes childhood in the home of his Jewish grandmother, who was full of stories about the family's escape from the Inquisition. Raised in a kosher Jewish house, Lafitte later married Christiana Levine, from a Jewish family in Denmark

These facts were forgotten in Hollywood's 1958 film "The Buccaneer,"...

Kritzler's research proves that there were many more Jewish pirates than was previously believed. However, he told the Los Angeles-based 'Jewish Journal', determining the exact number of Jewish pirates is difficult because many of them traveled as Conversos (converts to Christianity) and practiced their Judaism in secret...

Although many pirates disguised their Judaism, many Jews did not disguise their piracy. In many Jewish graveyards in the Caribbean, graves are decorated with skull-and-crossbones engravings. Yaakov Mashiach, for example, buried in Barbados, left no mention of his history other than a testament to his audacious marine activities. His grave, as well as his wife's, bears a skull, crossbones, and an hourglass.

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