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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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Question 21.10.2:
Growing Older: What other forms of body modification are allowed? Tattoos? Earrings?

Answer:

In general, Judaism does not approve of the purposeful damaging of the body or the making of permanent marks. Thus, tattoos, branding, and the punching of holes through the body are not generally accepted.

Earrings are a special case. The Torah does record that wearing an earring in the upper cartilage of the ear is a mark of slavery, and thus is not allowed. Wearing an earring in the fleshy lobe of the ear has a long history and has been allowed, but only for women. There is also a history of Haredi Jews wearing earrings, and there are records of Chassidic Jews wearing earrings to prevent or cure poor eyesight.


The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

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