Whether it’s a full sleeve of biblical figures or a small flower on an ankle, every tattoo has a story to tell.
One of the reasons I love tattooing so much is, to me, it does feel like a reclamation of something that was done to us that we now have the power to control, take back and use for our liberation.
Tattoos, crazy hair, and a prosthetic leg do not take away from my badass Jewishness.
One of the first things they did to Jewish women when they took them in Morocco, they tattooed their faces, like to say “For life, you are not a Jew anymore.”
She placed a cutting of pansies (representing love, thoughtfulness and remembrance) on my lower back—done in public, it was another step in reclaiming my power and personhood.
As a soon-to-be rabbi I’ve thought about what I might say when questioned about my tattoos. Tattoos represent the boldness of what it means to be living. They have also helped me heal.
For me, my tattoos are declarations of what I love, what is important to me, and who I am.
When I decided to get my first tattoo, I knew it would be a rose in her memory to remind myself and family that her life had meaning and was a blessing.
The orchids remained alive just like her memory—my best friend’s eternal legacy on my heart and this world.
By creating a part of my body apart from the genes of my parents, I am renaming my body, and imprinting it with my own mark.
The number that they inscribed on my grandfather’s arm, coincidentally or serendipitously, totaled 18. One of my favorite things he ever said was, “They tried to write our deaths, little did they know they inscribed life onto our arms.”
Some of my inks were quite painful, but as I get them I think. “This is easier than it was being homeless,” or “There’s a Nazi out there who could handle this, don’t let him beat you.”
"The idea that Black people can’t is based in the institutional racism of tattoo history.” Who knew? I have an amazing technicolor Ocean cresting on my shoulder.
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