Who's Jewish and has a tattoo?

Inspired by this thread.

I’m 25, and I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a tattoo since I was probably 18. It sort of hit me the other day that I think I’m ready to do it, probably from watching “Inked.”

The main thing that has held me back is Jewish law, which says I can’t be buried in a Jewish grave if I get one. But I’m not religious! Nor is my family, even though we’re sort of “culturally” Jewish. We vaguely observe some of the bigger holidays, but we don’t go to temple or anything. Anyway the point is, I’m not observant but this one thing has always nagged at me.

I’m just curious to hear about anyone who is Jewish, and to what degree, and how they felt/feel about the same issue. TIA.

And you’re posting this the eve of the Sabbath? :smiley:

That’s not true. It is true that getting a tattoo is against Jewish law. But it won’t neccesarily prohibit you from being buried in a Jewish cemetary. Every cemetary has it’s own policies about this, of course, and some might not allow bodies with tattoos to be buried.

You know that the rule about Judiasm questions is that they have to be posted on Friday afternoon.

Especially if the cemetary isn’t orthodox, I think the whole ‘can’t get buried in a Jewish cemetary’ thing is a myth. Certainly one I’ve heard, as well.

I’ve heard the cemetary thing is a myth as well. Think about it; there were a lot of Jews who had number tattoos courtesy of the Nazis. Gonna tell somebody their Grandma can’t be buried with the rest of the family because of something like THAT???

Culturally Jewish. Atheist by pratice. Got ink. ;j

Good thing there’s no hell, eh? :smiley:

The cemetary thing is a myth. It’s been discussed here a few times before. That said, your example is fucking ridiculous. If you’re forced to do something, it doesn’t count as having broken the rule.

Yeah, I think a reasonable reb would give a concentration camp survivor a pass on the tattoo.

Count me as another cultural, non-practicing Jew who has tattoos. Two of them, in fact. One for each kid.

I’ve known a Jew or two with tattoos. It’s just that when that particular myth was debunked to me that was the given explanation of why it’d be a silly rule, since there are, or were, a fair number of Jews with involuntary tattoos.

And here I thought this would be a Woody Allen joke.

The point is, if it were really a rule, it would obviously be waived for a Holocaust tattoo. Your logic is what is silly.

I’ve known plenty of Jews with tattoos and they are against “the rules.” So are pierced ears and any other sort of “body desecration.” Virtually any rule in Jewish law is not considered to have been broken if it was broken under duress or in order to save a life.

Okay, okay, so you have a point. Like I said, that’s the way it was explained to me.

If “body desecration” is the standard (for wrongdoing, not for correct behavior), then I suspect a WHOLE lot of people would find themselves graveless were violations of the rule sufficient to exclude people from Jewish cemeteries. Heck, I would think every cemetery would have to have a rabbi on 24-hour standby to give rulings on who was kosher and who was treyf. Dye jobs? Teeth bleaching? Nose jobs? Liposuction? Gastric bypass? Tooth implants? Chin implants? Eyelifts? With the possible exceptions of gastric bypass and tooth implants, I don’t see any of these things as materially different from tattooing. Where would one draw the line in today’s society?

Maybe I’m just being an optimist here, but I’ve always gotten the impression that Jews are more amenable than some other groups are to letting their cemeteries bury 'em all and let G-d sort 'em out.

My neighbor is Jewish. Not sure on the exact flavor but I know he has one complete sleeve, 75% of the other arm and both legs tattooed. I could ask tomorrow if you need more info than I can give.

My Dad is Jewish and has a tattoo. Never heard say anything about not being able to be buried in a Jewish Cemetary. I have three tattoos right now and planning a fourth. But I’m an athiest so it doesn’t matter.

When I read the title, I thought, “Well, I can think of one place a Jew’s unlikely to have a tattoo.”

These rules are most strictly obeyed by my Orthodox brethren and you won’t be hearing from them for another 24 hours or so. I will tell you this, if the question exists, a rabbi or two has weighed in on it.

I don’t know what the actual religioius answer to your question is, but it’s probably moot – if there were a problem with burial of Jews with tatoos in a Jewish cemetary, we (Israel, that is) would be in the middle of a Burial Crisis of unimagineable proportions just about right now. Which isn’t happening. So I’m assuming that either 1. It isn’t true or 2. It’s on the books but not enforced for practical reasons.

Pierced eaqrs and nose are explicitly excepted from the body desecration rule. Talmudic cite not available atm.