Hebrew Tattoos.

Tattoos in Hebrew have become very popular. I see them everywhere. Unfortunately, very few tattoo artists can actually read or write Hebrew, and this has led to a lot of misspelled and mistranslated Hebrew tattoos. Below is a tattoo on the arm of a man in Bentonville, Arkansas. He thought his tattoo meant ‘strength’ in Hebrew. It actually says ‘matzo.’ He had this tattoo on his arm for years before he found out the true meaning after he met a real Jew for the first time in his life, who translated it for him. The other picture is that of a more commonly misspelled Hebrew tattoo. The tattoo artist made a small mistake in the shape of one of the letters. This tattoo is supposed to be the name of God in Hebrew. Instead it says: ‘He shall be pregnant.’ This is not an isolated case. It appears that there are many other people in the United States, mostly fundamentalist Christians, with tattoos on them that say ‘He shall be pregnant”. Misspelled Hebrew tattoos have been seen all over the U.S. There are several web sites that just show pictures of misspelled Hebrew tattoos. Here is one of these web sites. Bad Hebrew Tattoos.

Jews and Tattoos. The Bible prohibits Jews from getting tattoos. In the Book of Leviticus it says: “You must not put tattoo markings upon yourself.” This line was part of a larger prohibition against idolatry. At the time the Old Testament was written, it was a common practice in the Middle East for people to tattoo the names and images of their gods on their bodies. Up until World War 2, it was generally only the orthodox Jews who took the Biblical prohibition on tattoos seriously, but after the war, tattoos became a taboo for Jews everywhere. Immediately upon entering Nazi concentration camps, Jews were tattooed with numbers on their arms. After the war, tattoos became an unpleasant and unwanted reminder of the Holocaust for Jews. Today, it is virtually impossible to find a tattoo artist who is Jewish or who can actually read Hebrew.

Mark’s Job Hunting Tip #3: Don’t Get a Conspicuous Tattoo.

20 years ago, it was very unusual to see a tattooed student at U.C. Berkeley, and there was only 1 tattoo parlor in the whole city. Today, a lot of Cal students have tattoos, and there are now 6 tattoo parlors in Berkeley. Tattooing has become far more socially acceptable than it used to be. One quarter of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 50 have a tattoo. But wait! Before you get a Chinese dragon tattooed on your wrist, have you considered how a tattoo might affect your ability to get a job or a promotion?

Careerbuilder.com, a job search web site, asked HR (human resource) managers what they considered the #1 physical attribute that would most likely limit a candidate’s chances of getting a job or getting promoted. 37% said body piercings and 31% said tattoos. A similar survey conducted by philly.com put tattoos at #1. According to The Patient’s Guide, laser tattoo removals increased 32% between 2010 and 2011. When asked why they were having their tattoos removed, 40% of respondents cited ’employment’ as the principle reason. Many employers have stricter dress codes these days and are refusing to hire people with tattoos. That is legal. People with tattoos are not a protected class under labor or discrimination laws. I once refused to hire someone myself because of a tattoo. I was managing a restaurant here in Berkeley called ‘The Station’ when a young man with a skull and crossbones tattooed on his cheek applied for a job. I thought: “Who is going to hire someone to serve food to the public who has the symbol for poison tattooed on his face?” If you are going to get a tattoo, my advice is to have it put someplace where it can’t be seen when you are wearing work clothes.