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Jewish burial hope has film star seeking tattoo removal

    Actress Drew Barrymore (Photo: akshay moon)
    Actress Drew Barrymore (Photo: akshay moon)

    Actress Drew Barrymore is citing Jewish law as a reason for having her six tattoos removed by laser surgery.

    Married to Jewish art consultant Will Kopelman, the Charlie's Angels and Whip It star intends to convert, but is worried that tattoos will stop her eventually having a Jewish burial.

    Tattoos are prohibited by Leviticus 19:28, which states: “You shall not make cuts in your flesh for a person [who died]. You shall not etch a tattoo on yourselves. I am the Lord.”

    Though burial with a tattoo is not officially prohibited by Jewish law, some traditional cemeteries might refuse to bury people with body art.

    Rabbi Yisroel Lew, of the Bloomsbury Chabad House in London, said: “There were certain Jewish cemeteries which instituted their own bans, in order to discourage people from having tattoos, but there isn’t actually a halachic prohibition against burying people with tattoos.

    “It may very well still happen. Every Jewish burial society makes its own rules, which they are entitled to do. It’s also because they want to bury within their cemetery people who fit within their community.”

    The tattoos Ms Barrymore hopes to have removed include two angels on her back, a butterfly on her stomach, a bouquet of flowers on her hip, a cross on her leg and a crescent moon on her toe.

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