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Who wears a Star of David tattoo?

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Quick Answer

A Star of David tattoo would most likely be worn by a younger-generation Jew, especially of a less-strict sect, such as Conservative or Reform. The Star of David is a modern Jewish symbol. The Torah prohibits tattooing, but many modern Jews question this teaching.

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Full Answer

The Magen David, "shield of David," or Star of David is supposed to represent either the shape of or the emblem on King David's shield. It is a relatively new symbol that has come to represent the Jewish faith.

In Leviticus 19:28, the Torah states "You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves: I am the Lord." From the second part of this, Judaic teachings derive the prohibition against tattooing. Notable rabbi Simeon ben Judah disagrees, saying a tattoo is not a culpable act unless it includes the name of G-d. The Babylonian Talmud also debates the issue. Professor Aaron Demsky of BarIlan University suggests that non-idolatrous tattooing may have been permitted in biblical times. He cites Isaiah 44:5 "[One] shall mark his arm 'of the Lord' and adopt the name of Israel," and Isaiah 49:16, "See, I have engraved You on the palms of my hands." Many younger Conservative and Reform Jews agree with Simeon ben Judah and Aaron Demsky.

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