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Jews with tattoos: the good, the bad and the oy vey

by Julie Bien

October 15, 2013 | 10:06 am

Before I go any further, I would like to acknowledge that tattoos are a controversial subject--not only because they are forbidden under religious law, but mostly because of the weight they carry as signifiers of the Holocaust. This article does not in any way aim to diminish the very real suffering of millions of people. However, because tattoos are a large part of youth culture, both here and in Israel, I felt it was appropriate to cover it as just that--commentary on a cultural trend.


*This post is brought to you by the 'Oy Vey' Meter: 0% is kosher. 100% is OY VEY.

**This post is also brought to you by a Jew with two tattoos. I'm a veritable expert.

Kosher Pig: I actually think this one is kind of funny. I mean if you're going to go for some kashrut commentary, you might as well go all the way. Babe would approve. (Photo courtesy "Tattoo Jew")

Oy Vey Meter: 40%

Military Pride: Perhaps not the most original, but neither are military tattoos in the US.  Kind of boring, but not bizarre.

Oy Vey Meter: 20%

Seeing Stars: Is it me, or do these look like badly placed pasties? I just...I can't get on board with these. (Photo courtesy "Tattoo Jew")

Oy Vey Meter: 75%

Hebrew for You: I actually think this one is pretty badass. The design, the eye, the sheer size of it--it's a winner.

Oy Vey Meter: 5%

The Menorah: This is what happens when you lose a bet.

Oy Vey Meter: 95%

Chai and a Star of David: It's a little cliché and a little boring. 'Meh' is about the highest ranking I can give it.

Oy Vey Meter: 30%

Mystical Ink: This tattoo gets points for being unique and nicely executed. It's not my aesthetic, but I absolutely think it's worthy of respect.

Oy Vey Meter: 15%

Chasidic Boy: WHY?????? This is so bad on SO many levels.

Oy Vey Meter: 100%

Gam Zeh Ya'avor: Simple. Delicate. To the point. The placement is a bit, uh, sensitive, but then again, if you're getting words inked onto your wrist or forearm (like myself) you've thought about that already. I dig it.

Oy Vey Meter: 10%

Eye See You: I'm also the proud owner of a hamsa, so I'm a bit biased. This is pretty cool. The red details are unique, and the eye is pretty realistic and disturbing. My mom would not approve.

Oy Vey Meter: 5%

Hamsa Chic: I love this. I want it on my back. NOW. The colors, the design, the placement--it's just lovely.

Oy Vey Meter: 1%

Don't Kotel on Me: The idea is unique--the execution is questionable. Those blurry red boxes behind the Star of David are supposed to be the stones of the Western Wall. I WANT to like this. But have you seen the Kotel? It's not red. White ink exists (I know because it's been used on me.) I just wish the artist had utilized it a bit more.

Oy Vey Meter: 35%

Holocaust Commemoration: I'm not sure that getting a backpiece is the best way to commemorate the worst genocide of modern times. However, I can't begrudge this human canvas credit for dedication. (Photo courtesy "Tattoo Jew")

Oy Vey Meter: 80%

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Hi. I’m Julie.

I’m an LA born-and-bred writer/photographer/blog manager/coffee-drinker-extraordinaire.

I plan on leading you down the rabbit hole of the internet in an...

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