Can a person with a tattoo be buried in a Jewish cemetery? There is nothing in Jewish law which prohibits a person who has a tattoo from being buried at Mount Sinai or any Jewish cemetery. We hear this question often due to today’s popularity of tattoos as well as how this subject is often the mentioned in pop culture. In fact, we refer to it as the “Jewish Cemetery Tattoo Myth” and in 2002, Rabbi Ben Zion Bergman eloquently answered this question for us.
Here is an interesting except from Rabbi Ben Zion Bergman’s letter which provides an overview of the Jewish Tattoo Myth…
“Although the Torah does indeed forbid inscribing a tattoo on one’s body (Leviticus 19:28) this in no way impinges upon one’s eligibility, right or privilege to be buried with fellow Jews in sanctified ground. The Torah also forbids eating pork and other forbidden foods, but I am sure that there are many buried in Mt. Sinai and other Jewish cemeteries who did not adhere strictly to the Jewish dietary laws. The prohibition against tattoos is no more stringent or severe than the dietary prohibitions. The willful violation of the Sabbath is an even more serious violation of Jewish Law (subject to the death penalty) but working on the Sabbath also does not forfeit one’s right to be buried in a Jewish cemetery with all the proper rites attendant thereto.”
If you have additional questions about this subject,l please contact Mount Sinai for clarification.