Top 5 Best Jewish Tattoos
01:20 PM
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Photo by Ariel Jankelowitz

My Top 5 Worst Jewish Tattoos post caused a lot more controversy than I anticipated. With the threat of a Nuclear Iran, Holocaust denial and Lady Gaga performing in Israel, you'd think that the American Jewish community would have more to be concerned with. Apparently not. There were a lot of thoughtful comments, however;  one even suggested I provide a positive list of top tattoos among the Tribe. Einstein (a Jew.)! And so, without further ado...

The Five Best Jewish Tattoo Ideas:

5. Meaningful biblical quotes in ancient Hebrew: I have a friend of a friend who has tattooed his entire back and one full sleeve in these messages. They range from reminders on how he should live his life, humbly and aware of the needs of others, to descriptions of the better world that is to come. Wrapping himself in these words, he has turned even his corporal skin into a living, breathing Torah.

4. A Menorah: The Menorah has as much traditional Jewish perceptual connection as the Star of David, but providing two distinct advantages over the Star:  First, the Menorah allows for internal embellishment, giving the tattoo artist an opportunity to create an intricate and proud piece. Second, the Menorah harkens back to Chanukah and the victory of the rugged Maccabbees over those who sought to oppress the Jews. Whereas the Jewish star tattoo seems passive in many cases, the Menorah declares an adamant, almost macho declaration of Judaism.

3. Portrait work: As shown above with my own tattoo of Ze'ev Jabotinsky, portraits of heroes can inspire daily. There are so many Jewish faces to choose -- and as most recently demonstrated by the cast of Glee, the Jewish people are a bunch of lookers. Add to that a long history of unusual costuming and we have a near Broadway range of expressive, intense Jewish faces to tattoo that could become as iconic as Che Guevara's blowing mane.

2. Judaica Art: Ranging from hand-paintings to elaborate, artistic installations, Judaica art has a long history of representing the people and culture of Jews through creative means. The soft colors and painting techniques of Eastern Europe would work well with some of the new Abstract tattoo artists out of Europe (like Noon). The Sephardic style stuff, full of sand colors and vine-like, interconnected lines, is inspiration for artists specializing in tribal and blackwork. Bonus points if you get something from Mark Chagall!

1. Propaganda posters. There is a rich visual history of early Zionist propaganda posters, like the wide selection found here on Celebrate our return home with some powerful graphic statements of our not-so-distant past.

Bonus Suggestion: Craig Dershowitz! Yes, you heard me right. Anyone who gets my name or likeness tattooed upon themselves wins a free lifetime membership to Needles and Sins.


[Editor's note: N+S is free. A Dershowitz portrait, however, will cost you a lifetime of celibacy.]


HAHAHAH >> "a lifetime of celibacy"

you got SERVED, Dershowitz.

Dershowitz, nice list and the Jabotisnky portrait is killer.

"Without further a-jew.."?

damn, Pat. That's goooood.

And Brian, do not challenge the Dershowitz. He'd get a portrait of himself just to prove us wrong.

Thanks to Yoni Z for the Jabotinsky portrait. All eyes on me!

P.S. M - don't try to make me mad at Brian. You're the one who made the celibacy comment. Just for that, I will be sleeping with Wendy Williams in front of you while you are forced to eat a very poorly made spanikopita.

Where did you get the work done??

i like the living torah thru ur body... pppl need reminders! awesome

As a jew with a few tattoos, I appreciate your art & humor. I live in Portland, OR and I'm sure there are other jews with tats out here, I just haven't found them yet.

btw, Pat, clever!!

Very nice suggestions. I particularly like the Judaica art since it is already so beautiful on the many different canvases. Portraits are cool too and the Jabotinsky work by Yoni is outstanding!

A Dershowitz design could lend itself to a multi-dimensional, intricate masterpiece considering it would be a tattoo of an ink clad gent; however, I will have to pass on this suggestion considering I don't want to fall victim to celibacy.

Marisa, your readers are way too smart to think otherwise about a free N&S. Rock on!!!

You Have some bad ass tats..Where were they done???


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Marisa Kakoulas
Miguel Collins
Craig Dershowitz
Brian Grosz
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