Sisterhood Blog

Nose Piercing & The Jewish Mother

By Judy Bolton-Fasman

  • Print
  • Share Share
This is not the author’s daughter

The day my 17-year-old daughter got her nose pierced, I spent the morning reading up on body piercing with regard to Jewish law. My daughter was about to get a small hole on the left side of her sweet nose and I wanted to understand if she was adorning her face or mutilating it.

The rabbis have been historically divided on the issue of body piercing. Some sages liken piercing, even the earlobes, to inflicting a wound on a body that belongs first and foremost to G-d. Others see it as an act of beauty because one can prettify the body with jewelry. Almost all of the sources I read were uncomfortable about piercings that drew blood.

My husband was unequivocal on the subject. He told me that, “if you had had a nose piercing when we met we wouldn’t be having this conversation today.” Okay, so obviously Dad had to be convinced that a small stud in the nose was in vogue rather than disgusting. As for me, I bought my girl’s argument that piercing her nose has been the only notable rebellious thing she’s wanted to do as a teenager. And she’d been lobbying for two years. “I have the perfect nose for it,” was one of her key points. “This is your face,” her father shot back.

I was no help to the home team when I said, “I’d pierce my nose if it didn’t look so ridiculous on a middle-aged mom.” Besides, I grew up with Latina cousins whose ears were pierced at birth. My Latina mother wanted my ears pierced when I was a baby, but was met with heavy (read: hysterical) opposition from her American mother-in-law.

My daughter did her homework. She found a reputable piercing/tattoo parlor to do the deed. Yes, piercings and tattoos seem to go hand in hand. But I don’t care how old my kids are, tattoos are not on the table at any age. Besides, tattooing one’s body is explicitly forbidden in Jewish law. The place that I’ll call I’m Piercing Your Daughter, Inc., looked reputable from its web site. They’d been in business for over a decade and took pains to emphasize that everything — needles, studs, gauze — was completely sterilized and disposable.

The waiting room at I’m Piercing Your Daughter, Inc. didn’t do much to put me at ease. It was decorated with scary wooden masks that sported creative ways to pierce the face. But at least I sat. My husband paced. My girl was too excited to notice anything. The song “Super Freak” was playing overhead. (I swear I’m not making any of this up.)

The technician, who was a walking advertisement for his profession, beckoned us into a private treatment room and carefully explained what he was going to do to our daughter’s nose. He was gentle and understanding as well as tattooed and pierced on every part of his body that was visible. In addition to having his own nose pierced in a couple of places, he also had a nose bullring. Yes, his septum was pierced. I caught my better half staring.

Nose piercing is a quick, simple and relatively painless procedure. It took longer for all of us to take our places in the small room. My girl held her Dad’s hand and her Dad held my hand. The technician pierced. My daughter smiled. My husband flinched. And I realized I didn’t have what it takes to get my nose pierced after all.

The piercing came with a sheet outlining care instructions that my daughter taped to her bathroom mirror. And the fallout? Not much to speak of.

I’m hailed as a cooler than cool mom and my lovely girl is now the ultimate hipster, especially when she wears her black-framed reading glasses. As for my husband, he’s secure in the knowledge that when a nose stud is removed, the hole will close up in less than a day.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Teenage, Style, Piercing

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.