Skin deep

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT & ANALYSIS -

I, TOO, WAS ap­proached by a young Jewish wo­man who wanted to know whether a body tat­too would pre­clude her from hav­ing a Jewish burial (Tatoos, a fad­ing taboo, JC, Jan­uary 19). How­ever, in­stead of telling her what she was want­ing to hear, I did the Jewish thing: I an­swered her ques­tion with a ques­tion. “Tell me,” I said, “were I to tell you the an­swer is yes, would you go ahead?” Taken aback by my approach, she said no, that would prob­a­bly de­ter her.

I then said to her: “Be­ing Jewish ob­vi­ously means a fair bit to you if you are al­ready wor­ry­ing about be­ing de­nied a Jewish rite of pas­sage in 60 or 70 years’ time. Tell me, do you not deem it con­ceiv­able that in fu­ture your Jewish con­scious­ness will strengthen and you will come to re­gret what you did to your body? And yet this you will have to live with all your life; it will ac­com­pany you into the Jewish grave you care about so much. And for what? To say you made a fash­ion state­ment at 19!”

I do not know whether she went ahead, but, at the very least, it made her think. Rabbi Chaim In­gram Llandaff Street, Bondi Junc­tion, NSW, Aus­tralia

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