----- Original Message -----
From: "Alexander Sharon" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, April 03, 2008 1:16 PM
Subject: Zydowscy Piraci
Specjalny dodatek dla kolekcji zydowskich gangsterow Ziemby mkurwany.
Famous Jewish Pirate
This recent article is about the most famous Jewish Pirate, Jean Lafitte.
It was written by a former professor from Temple University, Professor
Many of the pirates of the Caribbean were Sephardic Jews who turned to
piracy to get revenge on the Spanish Catholics who expelled them from
Spain in 1492, murdered their families and stole their property. Six of
Barbarossas chief officers were Jewish! This article sheds light on one
the most famous Jewish Pirates: Jean Lafitte the Jewish Pirate.
One of the things I do since I retired from Philadelphia's Temple
University is lecture on cruise ships. My signature talk is the
old history of piracy whose practitioners I call the Seafaring Gangsters
A few weeks before my first gig, I sent a draft of the talk to my history
buff sister, Phyllis. She liked it, but was very unhappy that I had not
mentioned Jean Lafitte. I told her I didn't include him because I
to deal with the economics, the sociology, and the politics of piracy.
said I simply had to talk about Lafitte
because he was unique. He was a Sephardic Jew.
In his prime, Lafitte ran not just one pirate sloop but a whole fleet of
them simultaneously. He even bought a blacksmith shop in New Orleans,
he used as a front for fencing pirate loot. And he was
one of the few buccaneers who didn't die in battle, in prison, or on the
gallows. Though I didn't lecture about Lafitte at first, a circumstance
serendipity has made me do so ever since. I was flying to Norfolk,
Virginia. The man in the seat next to me wore a skullcap
and he began chatting with me in Gallic-accented English. Though born in
France, the friendly passenger now lives in Switzerland. We quickly
established that we were both Jewish and that both of us had taught in
Then we had the following conversation: What are you doing on this plane?
asked. I'm a mathematician. I work for an American company and I'm flying
to Norfolk today because it has the US Navy's largest
naval base and my company is trying to get a Navy contract. Now, what are
you doing on this plane?
My wife and I are picking up a cruise ship in Norfolk.
Taking a vacation?
Not entirely. I'll be giving lectures on the ship,...... as many, in
as there are full days at sea.
What do you lecture about?
Since cruise lines frown on controversial topics. I have talked about
Israel once or twice, but I usually talk about Latin America, which is my
second specialty, or the Panama Canal or Mexico's Isthmus of Tehantepec,
the voyages of Captain Cook to the South Pacific. But I always begin a
cruise with a lecture on pirates. The kids love it and the old folks like
Are you going to talk about Jean Lafitte?
No. And I repeated what my sister had told me.
He pulled out his wallet and handed me a business card. It had Melvyn J.
Lafitte written on it.
Then he said, I am a direct descendent of Jean Lafitte. Your sister,
Phyllis, is absolutely right. Our family, originally named Lefitto, lived
in the Iberian Peninsula for centuries. When Ferdinand and Isabelle
re-conquered Spain and expelled the Jews in 1492, most of the
Jews fled to North Africa. Others went to the Balkans or to Greece and
Turkey. But some Sephardic Jews, my ancestors among them, crossed the
Pyrenees and settled in France, where Jean was born in about 1780. He
to French Santo Domingo during the Napoleonic period. However, a slave
rebellion forced him to flee to New Orleans. Eventually he became a
but he always called himself a privateer because that label has a more
legal ring to it.
In 1814, the British sought his aid in their pending attack on New
However, he passed their plans to the Americans and helped General Andrew
Jackson beat them in 1815. A grateful Jackson, not yet President, saw to
that Lafitte and his family became American
citizens. And, by the way, did you know that there is a town of Jean
Lafitte, as well as a Jean Lafitte National Historical Park in
I was flabbergasted, not so much by the saga of Jean Lafitte as retold by
proud descendant, but by the fact that the two of us had met so
coincidentally in the skies over Georgia. Melvyn Lafitte lives in Geneva
and I live in Portland, Oregon. These cities are 5,377 miles
apart. Unlike him, I am mathematically challenged, so I don't know what
statistical probability is that a descendant of the Franco-Jewish-American
pirate Jean Lafitte would board an airplane and sit next to me as I was
agonizing over whether to mention his famous
ancestor in my forthcoming talk.
Jewish history is replete with vivid coloring.