My personal decison to be branded and tattooed, as a Jew January 19, 1996 by joshua
Well, in addition to my opinions about burial and body modification, I suppose I should explain my personal interest in this discussion. I have multiple body modifications, including piercings, several tattoos and two multiple strike brands. Some of these have nothing in particular to do with my Judaism, but three of them do. On May 1st, 1995, Raelyn Gallina performed two brands on me. One is an armband of alternating chevrons and dots. The other is a simple, 6 strike brand, consisting of 6 chevrons arranged as the points of the "Star of David." My decision to be 'branded a Jew" is, for me, a reclamation of my body and my Jewish identity. Throughout history Jews have been forced to identify themselves via the wearing of certain articles of clothing, or signs on their homes. None of these identifying marks were undertaken voluntarily by Jewish people. During the Holocaust Jews were forced to wear "Star of David" patches on their arms, and those in concentration camps were tattooed with numbers, much like cattle. So, for me to take the Star of David as a Jewish symbol of identity and mark myself permanently with it, makes me feel more Jewish than I ever felt before.
In addition, within the 6 points I have a circular "Star of David" tattoo and on the outside of the 6 points I have outlined the brand (with a tattoo around each point. These tattoos further highlight my personal commitment to Judaism. Perhaps this explains why I get so easily offended when people tell me that "I can't be buried in a Jewish cemetery with my tattoos." Not only do I intend to be/act as a Jew for the rest of my life, but when I die, I will most certainly be buried according to Jewish tradition. If anyone wants to object, take it up with God.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 Jan. 1997