Going On the Account: At Least Both Groups Carried Rum Aboard Their Vessels, So…

So how am I going to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day this year?


By talking about gangsters…


Which is not as big of a disconnect as, say, putting up a Christmas tree on Memorial Day.  I’ve already noted before how the pirate culture influences the gangster culture that follows, and there’s mention I note in the book The Pirates of New York as to one direct connection between the fall of the pirates and the rise of the gangsters.  There are cultural connections that were made, mindsets and traditions that hit men took from seadogs as a mercantilist economy was replaced by an industrial one and the talent pool shifted their focus elsewhere.


It makes for an interesting discussion, which will get some mention during the night of the 19th as I present another lecture at the City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism.  Apparently, the last talk I gave on Jewish pirates was well enough received that I was invited back, this time to present a cultural program on a different set of rough characters:


Event:   Shabbat Service and Cultural Program

Start:    September 19, 2014 7:30 pm


End:     September 19, 2014 9:30 pm


Venue:   St. John’s Lutheran  Church

81 Christopher Street, New York, NY, 10014

AN OFFER YOU CAN’T REFUSE: The Rise and Fall of Jewish Mobsters

The best known Jewish gangsters – Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, Mickey Cohen – were involved in the numbers rackets, illegal drug dealing, prostitution, gambling and loan sharking. The roots of Jewish gangsterism lay in the ethnic neighborhoods of the Lower East Side; Brownsville, Brooklyn; Maxwell Street in Chicago; and Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. Find out more about this unsavory crowd, from the Brownsville Boys to Julius Bernstein, the last Jewish mobster.



More details can be found here; if you’re in the Village that night and want to be celebrating International Talk Like a Pirate Day among their spiritual successors, I’d love to see you there!

Going On The Account: Talking Like/About Pirates!

Arrrr!  And it be International Talk Like a Pirate Day today, it be!

And once again, ye land-lubbers can be pretending to be going on the account, yellin’ to the wenches and sirs, “Avast! Prepare to be boarded!” as ye be taking liberties with them, blaming it all on the grog the whole time.  Arrrr, ye almost be making Cinco de Mayo and Saint Patrick’s Day look respectable by comparison…

Aye, yes, it be me, the Jonah to the buzz of the day, jabbin’ on about what we can learn from pirates, asking again to have us think about pirates, not just be using them as cheap excuses to get drunk.  If ye be meaning to get all ye sheets full into the wind, ye can get drunk to toasting your local postman, which may not be the most glamorous reasons to hoist a few, but it’s an excuse for a drink, right…?

Arrr, so I be drinkin’ with me small crew portside and not be doing no learnin’ to ye the way I be hoping to each year, unless ye picked up me tome, The Pirates of New York, which be free for the seizing today.  And if ye missed getting yer hands on this booty because ye be looking for other booty elsewhere (and no, she’s not into ye at all, so stop staring at her, matey…), she be yours for a mere twelve bits.

As for me wanting to teach ye, I get me chance a few days off…

Arrr!  Let me be parroting here the write up about me talk to the City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, SEMETIC SEADOGS! Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean, that I be giving on October 4th:

The story of an unlikely group of swashbuckling Jews who ransacked the high seas!
They had boats with names like the Prophet Samuel, Queen Esther, and Shield of Abraham. They attacked and plundered the Spanish fleet while forming alliances with other European powers to ensure the safety of Jews living in hiding. Their tales are filled with attractive and repellant personalities, including a warrior rabbi, a shady arms dealer, and loathsome Spanish inquisitors. Learn not only about the Jews who practiced the Sweet Trade, but how many of them got away with it!

So aye, I be offering me knowledge about pirates close on the day after all.  The notes I took in bringing Samuel de Cadiz to life, that be the basis of me talk that night.

And I promise you, it will not be entirely in pirate argot like this post; fun as that might be, I’ve got an audience to think of here…

So here be where the parley be, if ye be in the port of New York that night:

City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism

October 4th, 2013

7:30 PM

14th Street Y

344 East 14th Street (near corner of 1st Avenue)

New York, NY  10009

Arrr, if ye be willin’ to see me keel haul meself before an audience, and ye have a need to see something different for free on a Friday, then this be your course to chart, aye…