Until a generation or two ago, we didn’t have that issue. We were marked by our Kippas and Shtreimels, and at times by our yellow badges. We lived mainly in our communities. Most of us didn’t struggle with questions of identity and those who did, did so because they tried to assimilate. 

In today’s individualist world, collective identity, in fact, identity in general, is something most of us have to actively persue. Marking myself as a Jew is an almost inevitable first step in that direction. A tattoo is just one way. One attempt. But it’s an attempt, nonetheless.