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.
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.
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???
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.
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.
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 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.
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.