Thursday, October 9, 2008


I appreciate irony, but please note that I submit this post on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calender, with the utmost respect. If I somehow offend, please forgive me.

I met Alvin on Penn Plaza, my favorite inkspotting locale, and noticed he had several visible tattoos. Had it been summer, and warm, perhaps I would have seen his Jack Skellington tattoo (sorry googlers, none here!), but he has promised to send it to me.

Rather, he offered up this hamsa tattoo, located on the back of his neck.

The hamsa is a traditional Arabic and Jewish symbol that is an emblem for warding off the evil eye.

This piece is particularly special because it was inked in honor of Alvin's grandfather, after he passed away. He was a Holocaust survivor (2 years in Auschwitz) and had been very outspoken about people with tattoos and piercings. Yet, Alvin's grandfather was okay with such things on his grandson, and Alvin had even discussed with him the idea of getting a memorial tattoo after he was gone.

The Hebrew word for life, "chai" is in the palm of the hamsa as a celebration of his grandfather's life.

Alvin is the other form of "tattoorist," one who gets tattoos when he is visiting other cities (when he has the time and wherewithal). This one was inked in Boston, but he doesn't remember the name of the shop or the artist.

Thanks to Alvin for sharing his hamsa and the story behind it!

Popular Posts