We're excited to invite you to see our new home
that is replacing Jewish-Funerals.org.

Click here to visit KavodvNichum.org
Home  »  Tattoo


Tattoos and Judaism

Biblical Texts

  וְשֶׂרֶט לָנֶפֶשׁ, לֹא תִתְּנוּ בִּבְשַׂרְכֶם, וּכְתֹבֶת קַעֲקַע, לֹא תִתְּנוּ בָּכֶם:  אֲנִי, יְהוָה.

Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:28)

And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. (Ezekiel 9:4)

One shall say, ‘I am the Lord’s,’ and another shall use the name of Jacob, and another shall mark his arm ‘of the Lord’ and adopt the name of Israel. (Isaiah 44:5)

Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; (Isaiah 49:16)

Talmudic Interpretations – Mishnah Makkot 3:6 MISHNA IV.: The culpability for etching-in [Lev. xix. 28] arises only when he has done both, wrote and etched-in with dye or any other indelible thing, but to one of them no culpability attaches. R. Simeon b. Jehudah in the name of R. Simeon said: He is not culpable unless he etched-in the holy name; as the above-cited verse reads, “and any etched-in writing shall you not fix on yourselves: I am the Lord.” GEMARA: Said R. Aha b. Rabha to R. Ashi: Does it mean unless he etch-in the words “I am the Lord”? And he answered, Nay! It is as Bar Kapara taught: “He is not culpable unless he writes the name of an idol, as the words “I am the Lord” mean I am the Lord, but not another one.

R. Malkhiya in the name of R. Ada b. Ahaba said: One is forbidden to put ashes upon his wound in the flesh, because it looks like a tattooing. [Said R. Papa: Throughout both Mishna and Boraitha, the name Malkhiya when mentioned is Malkhiyah, but in Halakhas it is Malkhiyoo]. R. Ashi, however, said: It does not matter, as the wound shows there is no tattooing.

Responsa – Conservative

Tattooing in Jewish Law
Tattooing and Body Piercing

Rabbi Alan Lucas – 1998

Is tattooing permitted? Would having a tattoo prevent a person from taking part in synagogue rituals? Would it preclude burial in a Jewish cemetery? Though a biblical ban on tattooing remains in force, a contemporary rabbi probes the prohibition’s limits and explores the rationale behind it.
Burial Myth

Is it true that someone with tattoos cannot be buried in a Jewish cemetery?

If you intend to be interred in a traditional Jewish cemetery, you should contact them to verify their policies. Do remember: today, tattoos are in; tomorrow they might not be. And though there are ways to remove them, why risk the potential cost and pain? Let the beauty of your soul be the example people will see and not a “heart with Mom” inside.

Why are Jews not allowed to have tattoos?

My god, this girl is a heathen, she cannot be buried with her ancestors in that blessed portion of ground that arbitrarily ends at that fence… Throw her coffin in with the rest of the idol-worshipping tattooed folk into this spiritually corrupt burial plot and call it a day.
Tattoos Hebrewtattoo.net we know that our art may be tattooed upon your body for the rest of your lives
Religious Tattoos Although the name of God was considered too sacred to speak, it has not escaped use in tattoo
Tattoo Jews many committed Jews are marking their flesh, and even using Jewish symbols to do so.
Tattoo Culture Burning pride Tattoos mark identity, yet raise questions – 2005 Jewish symbol tattoos “are no different from wearing a chai or a Jewish star” on a chain
Tattoo Jew Movie – 2004 Documentary about Jewish people who get tattoos in the context of religious prohibition, family disapproval, the Holocaust as a cultural memory, and the idea that they will not be buried in a Jewish cemetery. Tattoo Jew reads between the lines of what it means to be Jewish. This is not your parents’ Judaism. Tattoo Jew reveals a new Jewishness, a unique place where traditional Judaism meets tattoo culture.
Tattoo Jews – 2004 Many committed Jews are marking their flesh, and even using Jewish symbols to do so.
Jews & Tattoos: What’s a Rabbi to Do? It did actually feel sort of weird.  I don’t want to get God mad.
Understanding youth

My Traditions Project: Body Piercing and Tattoos – Samantha Hackel-Butt (Age: 18) – 2005

Again, from my own personal life, my friend and I are planning on getting tongue piercings for two reasons primarily: Because it’s cool in our eyes, and it would drive our parents crazy. This is why I think most of today’s youths are decorating themselves with various piercings, because their parents don’t approve, and they want to go against their parents for various reasons.
The Tattoo Myth Lives Curb your Enthusiasm – Season 3 – “The Special Section” – 2002 Larry is shocked to discover, upon returning from New York, that his mother has died and a funeral has already taken place. Even more shocking is the fact that, because of a tattoo, his mother wasn’t buried in consecrated ground, relegated instead to “the special section” reserved for “villains” and the like. Of course, Larry resorts to grave-robbing, and bribes the undertaker to help with the transfer. In the meantime, he discovers that his mom’s death is the best excuse he’s ever had to get out of unwanted engagements.