Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

For Jews, tattoo yearning pits pride against faith
Palm Beach Post ^

Posted on 07/28/2008 6:34:51 AM PDT by WilliamReading

BOCA RATON — Mo Brenner is taking Jewish pride to a new and controversial level.

The 27-year-old Boca Raton tattoo artist boasts a large Star of David on his upper right arm engraved with Abram, his Hebrew name.

He'll gladly sketch Hebrew writing and Jewish stars on his clients at Boca Body Art, because what could possibly be a better way to celebrate religion than with a shrine that will last a lifetime?

"A tattoo should really mean something to you," Brenner said. "Mine represents my religion and family."

With the tattoo phenomenon continuing to explode - 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 to 40 have at least one tattoo, according to the Pew Research Center - some Jews don't want to be left out.

But it's a contradiction for a religion that most believe forbids tattoos. Perhaps even more stinging, millions of Jews were forcibly tattooed during the Holocaust.

"I was always taught that nice Jewish people didn't do that," said 40-year-old Boca resident Amy Lubetkin. "When I think of tattoos, I think of the Holocaust and how tattooing of all these Jewish people was another way to take away their identity, take away from who they were."

Bruce Ratoff, a 55-year-old Boca resident, considers himself an only moderately observant Jew, yet there are certain lines he refuses to cross.

"Tattoos are a permanent mutilation and thus a direct violation of Jewish law," Ratoff said. "The Nazis were aware of this - it was a deliberate desecration when they tattooed concentration camp inmates. Why then should we deliberately choose to desecrate ourselves? I find this trend most disturbing."

Strangely enough, this is one of the reasons that younger Jews, like 18-year-old Alexis Engelhardt of West Palm Beach, are heading to tattoo parlors.

Engelhardt's grandmother was a Holocaust survivor, so he considered having "remember" tattooed on his forearm in Hebrew.

Ultimately he decided against it because he didn't want such a visible tattoo to hurt his chances at future employment. Instead, he modified a common tattoo of surfers - nautical stars at the front of the hips - using two Jewish stars.

"My parents were kind of upset when they found out, and so was my grandma, but it isn't that big of a deal," Engelhardt said. "I think you should take religion as more of a guideline instead of just rules saying this is how you should live. I think banning tattoos is a little bit ancient, and we're kind of past that."

Tattoo artist Brenner, the great-grandson of Jews caught up in the Holocaust, is thinking about adding yellow coloring to the Star of David on his arm.

Jewish people were forced to wear yellow stars and badges in Nazi Germany.

"I want to represent what they went through," Brenner said.

It's an argument that puzzles orthodox Rabbi Shlomo Uminer of the Chabad Jewish Center of Martin and St. Lucie Counties.

"That memory is not a good memory," Uminer said. "The memory of the Holocaust, that terrible act of barbarism that happened while the whole world watched and was quiet, is not something of remembrance. We shouldn't forget, but if you want to be clear that you're Jewish, wear a yarmulke (the traditional Jewish skullcap) on your head.

"How can you care about your religion when you disobey it (by getting a tattoo)? It just doesn't work."

Anthony Fratello, the Reform rabbi of Temple Shaarei Shalom in Boynton Beach, said he has very mixed emotions about tattoos on Jewish people.

He believes that the biblical text barring tattoos is "a bit vague" and that the real stigma these days stems from the Holocaust.

He's heard of people tattooing exact replicas of the numbers that were tattooed on the forearms of their relatives in concentration camps.

"There are those who see it as a way to reconnect with people that perished in the Holocaust, and I can see both sides of the argument," Fratello said.

However, he believes there is something sacred about keeping the body unmarked.

"I think there's a great deal that we can learn from the traditional perspective to say that it's your body, and God gave it you to take care of," Fratello said.

Many Jews have been reluctant to get tattoos because of a long-standing belief that the deceased can't be buried in Jewish cemeteries if they are tattooed.

However, even Orthodox rabbis like Uminer say that's a myth.

The Star of David of the Palm Beaches cemetery in West Palm Beach has no policy regarding tattoos, and Mount Sinai Memorial Park - an Orthodox cemetery in Miami - doesn't have its employees view the body before it is buried.

Once Ann Pardes of Boca Raton learned that prohibiting tattooed Jews from being buried was "just an old wives' tale," she permitted her son to get a tattoo in remembrance of his grandmother.

"I couldn't say no," Pardes said. "I thought it was for a very good reason, and it's a beautiful tattoo in memory of my mom. I'm even considering getting one myself."

Still, don't expect all Jewish people to go against a tattoo-forbidding mantra passed on for thousands of years.

"Every place I look, every movie star, every rock star, every athlete has tattoos, so I'm not surprised at this trend," Lubetkin said. "But I'm still going to instill in my children that Jewish people don't get tattoos. When my son was as young as 4 and he'd see somebody with a tattoo, he'd say, 'Mommy, that person's not Jewish.'"


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: confused; leviticus; tattoo; tattoos
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-200201-202 next last

1 posted on 07/28/2008 6:34:51 AM PDT by WilliamReading
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading

Me, I just don’t understand the whole tattoo phenomenom.


2 posted on 07/28/2008 6:38:12 AM PDT by Rummyfan (Iraq: it's not about Iraq anymore, it's about the USA!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading
Its forbidden for Jews to tatoo their bodies. The body is not one's to do with as one pleases. It belongs to G-d and the Jew inhabits it on temporary loan from G-d. One must act holy, be seen as holy and imitate G-d.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

3 posted on 07/28/2008 6:38:43 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading

In many ways, this is a completely bogus news article. Out of the millions of Jews in South Florida, they were able to locate one Jewish tattoo artist and not one other Jew who was tattooed.

The Palm Beach Post is just making a story out of nothing here . . I guess they think it will sell lots of newspapers as it was on the front page of the Sunday edition.

I can’t understand why Christians think being tattooed is okay, and Jews think it is unacceptable. I always cringe when I see a woman wearing a tattoo . . I guess I almost expect a Sailor to be wearing one . . or a member of a motorcycle group.


4 posted on 07/28/2008 6:39:29 AM PDT by WilliamReading
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading
"I want to represent what they went through," Brenner said.

by coloring your tatto, mo? yeah, that will really give you the proper perspective of what the holocaust jews went through, you mo-ron.

5 posted on 07/28/2008 6:39:52 AM PDT by thefactor (contributing nothing of value to threads since 2001...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: thefactor

“I want to represent what they went through,” Brenner said.

Then he should tatto a number on his wrist, not a star of David.

No brains, no pains.


6 posted on 07/28/2008 6:41:55 AM PDT by WilliamReading
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading; Alouette

Ping!...........Isn’t this against the “Law”?...........


7 posted on 07/28/2008 6:43:06 AM PDT by Red Badger (If we drill deep enough, we can reach the Saudi oil fields from THIS side..........)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rummyfan

Middle aged women with tattoos - not charming.


8 posted on 07/28/2008 6:43:34 AM PDT by donna (The Latino community holds the election in its hands. -Barack Hussein Obama)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Rummyfan

I’m just not a tattoo fan. I have a small one that I got when I was younger and dumber but a couple of hundred dollars will make it go away.


9 posted on 07/28/2008 6:43:49 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Voting conservative isn't for the faint of heart.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: E. Pluribus Unum
i have decided to take your endless ridicule and name-calling of anyone who has a tattoo as charming. so i am pinging you to this article.

and as there is a good chance you dislike jews almost as much as you hate tattooed folks, this should be a fun one. go get 'em!

10 posted on 07/28/2008 6:43:49 AM PDT by thefactor (contributing nothing of value to threads since 2001...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading

I live in Palm Beach County and the Palm Beach Post is a left-wing rag that specializes in bogus stories and liberal bias - just ask Rush!


11 posted on 07/28/2008 6:46:25 AM PDT by T.L.Sink
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading

This guy sounds like a trailer-park-loving ex-con/prostitute wannabe...


12 posted on 07/28/2008 6:49:44 AM PDT by Andonius_99 (There are two sides to every issue. One is right, the other is wrong; but the middle is always evil.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading
"My parents were kind of upset when they found out, and so was my grandma, but it isn't that big of a deal," Engelhardt said. "I think you should take religion as more of a guideline instead of just rules saying this is how you should live. I think banning tattoos is a little bit ancient, and we're kind of past that."

Oy gevalt.

13 posted on 07/28/2008 6:51:04 AM PDT by kalt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading
You shall not make a gash in your flesh for the dead, and you shall not place inked writing (kotevet kakaa) upon yourselves--I am the Lord.--Leviticus 19:28.
14 posted on 07/28/2008 6:51:28 AM PDT by Alouette (Vicious Babushka)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 1st-P-In-The-Pod; 2ndDivisionVet; A_Conservative_in_Cambridge; af_vet_rr; agrace; Aiko; ...
FReepMail to be added or removed from this pro-Israel/Judaic/Russian Jewry ping list.

Warning! This is a high-volume ping list.

15 posted on 07/28/2008 6:52:20 AM PDT by Alouette (Vicious Babushka)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: donna

The lack of tattoos, piercings and other modifications is one of the things that attracted me to my girlfriend in the first place. She doesn’t even wear earings. Just a Claddagh ring on her finger.


16 posted on 07/28/2008 6:52:36 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Voting conservative isn't for the faint of heart.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Yes, Leviticus 19:28.


17 posted on 07/28/2008 6:55:29 AM PDT by Enosh (†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading

“A tattoo should really mean something to you,” Brenner said. “Mine represents my religion and family.”

Moe Brenner also serves Ham and Lobster to celebrate his Passover Seder. Moe is just a very deep guy.


18 posted on 07/28/2008 6:55:51 AM PDT by WilliamReading
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading
Anthony Fratello, the Reform rabbi of Temple Shaarei Shalom in Boynton Beach, said he has very mixed emotions about tattoos on Jewish people.

He believes that the biblical text barring tattoos is "a bit vague"

He probably also believes that Leviticus 18:22 is also "a bit vague"

19 posted on 07/28/2008 6:55:51 AM PDT by Alouette (Vicious Babushka)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cripplecreek

I don’t think we have any of those here.


20 posted on 07/28/2008 6:57:22 AM PDT by null and void (Barack Obama - International Man of Mystery...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: hilaryrhymeswithrich; absolootezer0; envisio; Melas; retrokitten; Marie
Oh look another one....how ugly will this one get?

Tattoo thread.....PING!!

21 posted on 07/28/2008 6:57:25 AM PDT by Jersey Republican Biker Chick (Some days it is not worth chewing through the restraints.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
Isn’t this against the “Law”?...........

It is against the Law, and also stupid.

22 posted on 07/28/2008 6:57:31 AM PDT by Alouette (Vicious Babushka)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading

A couple thousand years ago, a cross was an instrument of torture...now it is all-but-mandatory adornment...


23 posted on 07/28/2008 6:57:32 AM PDT by LearnsFromMistakes (No longer welcome in my own 'happy place'.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading

I am neither a Sailor or do I belong to a motorcycle group. Sometimes people get tattoos in order to memorialize people they love.

http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee247/LongIslandPete/Tat1.jpg


24 posted on 07/28/2008 6:58:13 AM PDT by Long Island Pete
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading
Exactly

Leviticus 19:28

‘You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD.

Having said all this my eldest USMC son had a tat of their emblem on his arm but you never see it because his shirt sleeve cover it up.

No, I was not thrilled with it but he is free, white and over 21.... and I sort of understood why

25 posted on 07/28/2008 6:59:11 AM PDT by Kimmers
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Andonius_99
"This guy sounds like a trailer-park-loving ex-con/prostitute wannabe..."

HA HA HA....I see you were on the other thread last week.

26 posted on 07/28/2008 6:59:55 AM PDT by Jersey Republican Biker Chick (Some days it is not worth chewing through the restraints.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: LearnsFromMistakes

As a Jew, I always found tattoos to be repulsive . . would never think of having one. Temporary tattos are okay as far as that goes.

On the other hand, if I see a Sailor or Marine who didn’t have one on his upper arm, I would be slightly disappointed. .


27 posted on 07/28/2008 7:01:01 AM PDT by WilliamReading
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Long Island Pete

Nice ink....very beautiful tribute.


28 posted on 07/28/2008 7:01:10 AM PDT by Jersey Republican Biker Chick (Some days it is not worth chewing through the restraints.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: cripplecreek
The lack of tattoos, piercings and other modifications is one of the things that attracted me to my girlfriend in the first place. She doesn’t even wear earings. Just a Claddagh ring on her finger.

I hear you neighbor. When I was a young, husky fella riding big bikes on the street, I drew up a design- cross in a circle, with a winged heart overlaying it-- fully intending to have it tattooed on my shoulder.

But the urge passed, and now that I'm shrunken and grey, I'm kind of glad it did. It was a pretty design, even so.

Watching my nieces grow up, the first piercing didn't bother me, but when they multiplied- a got a few tattoos-- it made me a little queasy...

29 posted on 07/28/2008 7:01:45 AM PDT by backhoe (Just an old keyboard cowboy, ridin' the Trakball in to the Sunset...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Alouette
"You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves: I am the Lord" (Leviticus 19:28).

Vague, Rabbi Fratello? Why because G-d didn't say "You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves: I am the Lord, and that goes especially for you, Fratello!"?

30 posted on 07/28/2008 7:01:53 AM PDT by sofaman (Moses dragged us through the desert for 40 years to bring us to the one place in the ME with no oil.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Jersey Republican Biker Chick
HA HA HA....I see you were on the other thread last week.

On the thread?!?! Hell, I was the 1st to be called "Ma'am"! :)

31 posted on 07/28/2008 7:02:36 AM PDT by Andonius_99 (There are two sides to every issue. One is right, the other is wrong; but the middle is always evil.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
Ping!...........Isn’t this against the “Law”?...........

Leviticus says no tattoos

32 posted on 07/28/2008 7:02:40 AM PDT by dennisw (That Muhammad was a charlatan. Islam is a hoax, an imperialistic ideology, disguised as religion.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Alouette

Even though I’m not Jewish, I detest tattoos. Never even got one in the Marine Corps, when all my buddies were. My wife feels the same. So what does our daughter do as soon as she turns 18? Goes out and gets a tattoo................


33 posted on 07/28/2008 7:02:49 AM PDT by Red Badger (If we drill deep enough, we can reach the Saudi oil fields from THIS side..........)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Rummyfan
Me, I just don’t understand the whole tattoo phenomenon.

Seriously, why do people want to put graffiti on their bodies so they they end up looking like a NY subway wall?

34 posted on 07/28/2008 7:04:00 AM PDT by Obadiah (I remember when the climate never changed, then Bush stole the election.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: donna; All

For what it’s worth, Theodore Dalrymple is his book, “Our Culture, What’s Left of It,” said that not all people who have tattoos are criminals but ALL criminals have tattoos. Of course, he’s speaking as a British psychiatrist and he may be referring to the situation there.


35 posted on 07/28/2008 7:05:04 AM PDT by T.L.Sink
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Andonius_99
"On the thread?!?! Hell, I was the 1st to be called "Ma'am"! :)"

OMG...that's right.

That thread was ugly for days.....I asked a few others who is starting the Tattooed FReeper Trailer Park, and Bar & Grill?

36 posted on 07/28/2008 7:05:13 AM PDT by Jersey Republican Biker Chick (Some days it is not worth chewing through the restraints.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading
On the other hand, if I see a Sailor or Marine who didn’t have one on his upper arm, I would be slightly disappointed.

I didn't get a tattoo in The Marines, when all my buddies did. Never bothered me....................

37 posted on 07/28/2008 7:05:30 AM PDT by Red Badger (If we drill deep enough, we can reach the Saudi oil fields from THIS side..........)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Even though I’m not Jewish, I detest tattoos. Never even got one in the Marine Corps, when all my buddies were. My wife feels the same. So what does our daughter do as soon as she turns 18? Goes out and gets a tattoo................

She better go out and join the Lady Marines, then. Are there women in the Marines?


38 posted on 07/28/2008 7:06:46 AM PDT by WilliamReading
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop

I know 2 Jewish girls with nose jobs (and probably other things). How is it not mutilation or doing with the body what one pleases to do these things while a different set of standards applies to tattoos?


39 posted on 07/28/2008 7:06:55 AM PDT by definitelynotaliberal
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Rummyfan

Tatoo Removal... the next big money maker.. its already underway, as the sorority girls realize the tramp stamp and arm and ankle bands that seems so cool in College, hinder them in the workplace.


40 posted on 07/28/2008 7:07:09 AM PDT by HamiltonJay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Jersey Republican Biker Chick
Tattooed FReeper Trailer Park, and Bar & Grill?

That would make one hell of a ping list, that's for sure... :)

41 posted on 07/28/2008 7:07:09 AM PDT by Andonius_99 (There are two sides to every issue. One is right, the other is wrong; but the middle is always evil.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading
She better go out and join the Lady Marines, then. Are there women in the Marines?

Yes. They are "oficially" WM's (Woman Marine).....but we called them BAMs........................

42 posted on 07/28/2008 7:08:04 AM PDT by Red Badger (If we drill deep enough, we can reach the Saudi oil fields from THIS side..........)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: definitelynotaliberal

I know 2 Jewish girls with nose jobs (and probably other things). How is it not mutilation or doing with the body what one pleases to do these things while a different set of standards applies to tattoos?

That’s stretch . .


43 posted on 07/28/2008 7:08:25 AM PDT by WilliamReading
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading
As a Jew, I always found tattoos to be repulsive

I don't understand the attraction. As a christian, we try to honor most of the Jewish law...not quite sure how some (like tattoos) are taboo, but others (like pork...Sabbath) seem to be 'lesser'...

I had to talk my wife (now 40) out of getting one a couple years ago. She did a temporary one, and liked (most) of the reactions she got. Now, she can't believe she almost went thru with one...

44 posted on 07/28/2008 7:08:44 AM PDT by LearnsFromMistakes (No longer welcome in my own 'happy place'.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: dennisw

leviticus says no to alot of things. as does most of the rest of the pentetuch. how many of those old laws do you hold to, and how many do you ignore?


45 posted on 07/28/2008 7:09:40 AM PDT by absolootezer0 ( Detroit: we're so bad, even our mayor is a criminal)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Andonius_99
hmmm.....Maybe we should compile one....OK tattooed FReepers....sign up.
46 posted on 07/28/2008 7:13:56 AM PDT by Jersey Republican Biker Chick (Some days it is not worth chewing through the restraints.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: Jersey Republican Biker Chick

Sign me up!


47 posted on 07/28/2008 7:15:10 AM PDT by Andonius_99 (There are two sides to every issue. One is right, the other is wrong; but the middle is always evil.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: WilliamReading

How so? The poster to whom I was responding said, “Its forbidden for Jews to tatoo their bodies. The body is not one’s to do with as one pleases. It belongs to G-d and the Jew inhabits it on temporary loan from G-d. One must act holy, be seen as holy and imitate G-d.” If the body is a lease, so to speak, then it ought not be tampered with.


48 posted on 07/28/2008 7:15:16 AM PDT by definitelynotaliberal
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: Jersey Republican Biker Chick

Sign me up too!


49 posted on 07/28/2008 7:16:46 AM PDT by tearlenb
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: thefactor
By stalking me, you're proving my point that people with tattoos are latent sociopaths.

Hit anybody on the back of the head with a tire iron lately?

50 posted on 07/28/2008 7:18:36 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Public policy should never become the captive of a scientific-technological elite. -- Ike Eisenhower)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-200201-202 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson