Sruli Schochet was in an Arkansas Walmart when he ran into this guy, proudly showing off a tattoo he thought read as "strength" in Hebrew. Unfortunately, the tattoo was badly misspelled.
It's not the first time this sort of mix-up has happened. This guy became instantly famous in Israel when he showed up on his Birthright trip with this tattoo.
Meant to read "work hard, party harder" — a rallying cry of bros around the world — it actually reads as "the Labor Party is harder."
The words for "work" and "labor" in Israel are pretty similar. The photo was originally posted to Facebook and immediately shared by the then-head of the Labor Party in Israel, who must have thought it was good publicity. (It didn't exactly help in this year's election though...)
The "Bad Hebrew" blog is filled with more examples of people who really should have talked their tattoos over with a native speaker (preferably one who wasn't angry with them) before going under the needle.
This girl wanted "mercy" tattooed on her finger, but instead ended up with the Hebrew word for "loss," or "absence" — which is rather fitting given the loss of her ability to go without telling this story every few days.
For a while, Hebrew tattoos were a celebrity fad. They didn't fare much better with the Hebrew language. Britney Spears got this tattoo removed after the word she thought read as "God" was just a bunch of scrambled-up letters.
Then Christina Aguilera got a tattoo that was supposed to read as the initials of her then-husband, Jordan Bratman. But in Hebrew, initials work differently, so she basically got the number 12.
So remember, kids: Always quadruple-check what you're about to get permanently etched on you in a language you can't read.
Schochet said he was sorry he didn't get the name of the man with the matzoh tattoo, but that if this post reached him he would be interested in starting a GoFundMe campaign for a laser tattoo removal.
Sheera Frenkel is a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed News based in San Francisco. She has reported from Israel, Egypt, Jordan and across the Middle East. Her secure PGP fingerprint is 4A53 A35C 06BE 5339 E9B6 D54E 73A6 0F6A E252 A50F
Contact Sheera Frenkel at email@example.com.
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