For years, I wanted to get a tattoo in honor of my best friend, Hannah, who was killed in a plane crash on New Year’s eve, 2018. As time passed and people began to move forward, I yearned for a constant physical
reminder of her presence in my life.
But I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to be buried in a Jewish grave, or that other Jews would judge me for getting a tattoo. After years of grappling with this decision, I stumbled upon a tweet from Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, debunking the myth of not being able to be buried in a Jewish grave. Simultaneously, I met a queer, non-binary, Jewish tattoo artist who was deeply sensitive to the meaning of my tattoo.
When Hannah came to stay with my family over Thanksgiving our Sophomore year, she brought us a pot of pink orchids that were just beginning to bloom. When she and her family died a month later, the flowers were in full blossom, and they continued to flourish, spreading their petals in the sun for years after the tragedy. The orchids remained alive just like her memory—my best friend’s eternal legacy on my heart and this world.