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Tattoo and Piercing

Answer By: 
Rabbi Bruce L. Gottlieb
Is it true that you cannot be buried in a Jewish cemetery if you have a tattoo?

Judaism teaches us that our bodies belong, as do all parts of nature, to God. They are on loan to us and we are responsible for caring for them. Any sort of mutilation of the body is, therefore, prohibited. Tattooing is prohibited, as is scarring, and some forms of elective cosmetic surgery.

There are criminal offenses that are so heinous as to bar someone from being buried in the Jewish cemetery. Despite the persistence of a myth to the contrary, a tattoo is not one of those offenses. There is no prohibition against burying someone with a tattoo in the Jewish cemetery.

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