Tattoos can be kosher

Aviva pointed out an interesting article in the NY Times on Jews and tattoos, “For Some Jews, It Only Sounds Like ‘Taboo’.” Since I got my tattoo, I’ve been thinking about what effect that might have on my post-death options, so this article helped; for example:

“The eight rabbinical scholars interviewed for this article, from institutions like the Jewish Theological Seminary and Yeshiva University, said it’s an urban legend, most likely started because a specific cemetery had a policy against tattoos. Jewish parents and grandparents picked up on it and over time, their distaste for tattoos was presented as scriptural doctrine.”

So apparently it depends on the cemetery, which is good (some won’t bury a partial convert like me either, but some do).

As an aside, I thought this paragraph of the article was interesting as well, especially since the mentioned practices are also considered wrong in Islam:

“But he (Rabbi Alan Bright) noted that Jewish law prohibits many things that secular Jews do without a second thought. “The Torah prohibits anything negative that affects the body,” he said. “Smoking is more of a violation of Jewish law.” As are drinking alcohol in excess and overeating.


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