Jew­ish Pirates of the Caribbean

Edward Krit­zler
  • Review
By – January 13, 2012

With its allur­ing cov­er, Jew­ish Pirates of the Caribbean promis­es a rol­lick­ing tale about lov­able rogues who cher­ished the faith while col­lect­ing booty. It deliv­ers that and more. 

Dri­ven to find new homes, Iber­ian Jews financed and accom­pa­nied the explor­ers, set­tling all over South Amer­i­ca and the islands. As Chris­t­ian con­verts they formed secret­ly allied Jew­ish communities. 

In the Mediter­ranean they estab­lished large ghet­toes in major ports. Since mon­ey­chang­ing was for­bid­den to Catholics and Moslems, Jews mint­ed coins, col­lect­ed tax­es, made loans, and financed ventures. 

Those who are chiefly famil­iar with Ashke­nazi his­to­ry will be painful­ly sur­prised to read of the Jew­ish expe­ri­ence in South Amer­i­ca, with the pres­sure of the Inqui­si­tion and con­stant rejec­tion by old­er settlers.

Krit­zler con­cludes with this edi­to­r­i­al com­ment: Wel­come us and we will make you rich.” Suf­fused by the aura of the con­quis­ta­dors, this book sug­gests class projects or gifts; libraries should also note that it has schol­ar­ly weight.

Jane Waller­stein worked in pub­lic rela­tions for many years. She is the author of Voic­es from the Pater­son Silk Mills and co-author of a nation­al crim­i­nal jus­tice study of parole for Rut­gers University.

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