Why I'm Not Tattooed

Miriam Hopper and Missy Goldstein
Miriam Hopper
Miriam Hopper, 29,
Brooklyn, New York

The Body is Sacred

by Miriam Hopper

I am not against tattoos in principle. From a religious perspective, is having a tattoo really that different from having ear piercings or elective plastic surgery? That said, I see the body as sacred, b’tzelem Elohim (in the image of God), and any alteration should not be taken lightly. Thus far, nothing in my life has driven me to create that kind of permanent change. While most of my friends have tattoos, many of them multiple times over, I often feel as though they are looking for something meaningful so they can get their tattoo, and wonder if those song lyrics or Celtic knots that mean so much to them at 22 will mean the same thing at 42.



Missy Goldstein, 22,
Jacksonville, Florida

It's Too Defining

by Missy Goldstein

I’ve been reluctant to get a tattoo. They’re permanent, which may come with regret. Plus there’s the cost and pain involved. And I’m aware that in the Holocaust, the Nazis used the tattoo to strip our people of their humanity, their dignity, their identity. Although they clearly don’t have the same meaning today, all tattoos do nonetheless cover up the complexity of one’s identity by reducing it to a simple sign or statement. With a tattoo, I think people would see less of who I am and more of what I appear to be as signified by what’s printed on me. When you don’t have anything marking your flesh, your life is more open to interpretation and engagement.