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Jews and tattoos

The spread of Jewish-themed tattoos have some rabbis in a quandary, reports the Kansas City Star:

Increasing numbers of younger Jews are embracing tattoos, which have shed many of their negative stereotypes — they no longer are considered the purview of bikers, convicts and drunken servicemen — and have found a foothold in the under-30 set. They have gone from being outlaw symbols to fashion statements. Young Jews, like young non-Jews, are doing what younger generations have done since the beginning of time: ignore their parents.

“The fact that I’m from California and my parents are 2,000 miles away made it a little easier,” Teichner admitted of her decision to get her first tattoo, an olive-branch wreath that incorporates the Star of David. That led to her second tattoo, which she got in June. It combines her name in Hebrew with the date of her bat mitzvah and a tribute to her late grandparents.

“My parents didn’t like it at first, and my fiancé still doesn’t like it,” she said. “But to me, that tattoo is really important because it has a lot of symbolism.”

Teichner is far from alone in getting Jewish-themed tattoos. And that poses a quandary for some rabbis, who have spent much of their lives facing anti-Semitism. While opposing tattoos on principle, they’re buoyed by the young Jews’ fervor in flaunting their heritage.