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לְעֵת כָּזֹאת. הֲדַסָּה

Translation:

Hadassa; For such a time as this

Jessica from Washington State wanted art that would express her connection to her Jewish roots and the courage to publicly declare her heritage.

When she first reached out, Jessica wrote:
”I’m hoping you’d be willing to consider creating a tattoo for me. I have been wanting a tattoo that reflects my Jewish ancestry, and when I found your work and learned you are in Berlin and Israel, it just felt right. The idea that I could both support Jewish artists and connect with people from where my family originated…it’s humbling. My story is below, I’m hoping you’ll be willing to read it.

I’ve known my whole life that I come from German Jewish ancestry, although my family doesn’t practice Judaism. While most of my life it’s been part of my identity, since President Trump’s election and the Capitol riots in January 2021 it’s become an ever more present part of my self identity and mind. My therapist pointed out that my Jewish heritage has always been a source of fear for me (I’ve had Nazi nightmares my whole life, and at the Capitol riots there were people wearing shirts saying 6 million weren’t enough, causing me to be truly afraid of my countrymen learning I’m Jewish). She’s encouraged me to find ways to celebrate and enjoy my ancestry. So I’ve been buying and making Jewish food and recognizing & honoring Jewish holidays. Recently I read the story of Esther in honor of Purim and while I have always loved that story, it struck me anew this time. Hadassah changed her name to hide that she was Jewish out of fear, but to save her people, she put aside her fear and revealed herself and took pride in it. I see my tattoo as a way for me to step up and proudly proclaim my identity and treasure this part of me. Additionally, my husband and I just started fostering kids with trauma, and I too had trauma in my childhood. The line from Esther “for such a time as this” made me realize that while my trauma never should have happened, it’s uniquely equipped me to help kids who’ve gone through traumas and need a safe home and understanding parents. Maybe that’s why I had the experiences I did, so I could help.
For my tattoo, I’m hoping to have the name ‘Hadassah’, along with the words ‘love’, ‘strength’, and ‘courage’ in a tattoo. I’d be very interested if a design comes to mind for you and would want to talk about that. I was also thinking about those words in the shape of an evergreen tree. My state is known as the Evergreen tree state, and I have always loved evergreens. They also symbolize hope in adversity and resilience, which I hope to be and foster in the kids we have the blessing to welcome into our home.”

While working on the storytelling side of the art, David asked Jessica to further go into what the name Hadassah means to her. She said: “Hadassah, to me, means symbolizing my Jewish ancestry and the courage to publicly declare it. But I’d also say it symbolizes the courage and strength to step up and do what’s right. Not letting fear prevent me from standing up for others.”

David then suggested keeping the phrase that Jessica quoted in her request, “For Such a Time as This”, to which Jessica replied: “I really love your suggestion of “for such a time as this.” The emphasis the person used reading those words in the passage this time is ultimately what inspired this tattoo and has truly become a state of mind for me, an embodiment of how I’m trying to live my life. It also provides hope that current or future struggles could also be used for the good of others. Thank you for the suggestion and saying it so beautifully!”

When Gabriel read Jessica’s request, he said: “Imagining this piece, I noticed something about the placement: I like to think about a wrist placement as the perfect choice for a call to action. It’s where our energies that flow into the world pass, it’s where we interact with everything. And yet, a tree on that spot would grow in the other direction, inwards, gaining the flow of that active energy. As I was sketching just a little, I felt like the symbolism is perfect, though: as we act, especially when helping others, we grow internally. So interacting with the outside world, symbolized by inward growth, is a concept I love.”

All these thoughts and ideas are what eventually went into Jessica’s design.

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