David Draiman, lead singer of Disturbed

Rich Cohen is going to have to add this guy to his list of Tough Jews.

No, he’s not a 1930s Jewish gangster, he’s 21st century rock star David Draiman, the gravel-voiced lead singer of popular heavy-metal band Disturbed. And he comes by his musical talent honestly:

The person that they say I get my voice from was my great-grandfather who was the head cantor of the Gerrer Hasidische bes medresh in Jerusalem. I basically spent 17 years studying the Talmud and the Tanach, and Judaism in general, and was probably about, I would say, two or three years away from smicha, from being ordained.”

A piece in The Jerusalem Post last year describes him as, “one of the few high-profile hard rock singers who are defiantly Jewish – imagine a young Ozzy Osbourne as the spokesman for the Jewish Defense League.”

When asked how he deals with the inevitable skinhead fans of Disturbed, he replies,

I’m incredibly defiant against neo-Nazis and skinheads…I’ve always been very proud of my heritage and where I come from, and I’ve defended it to the extent of being bloodied on many occasions. In fact, most of the fights I’ve [had] in my life – and there have been many – have been because I was defending my family or my faith. And I don’t apologize for it.”

All I can say is this guy is one bad-ass Jew. Glad he’s on my side.

Let me leave you with this little gem from his podcast with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum:

I think I do enough good as an individual in terms of setting tens of thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of people free and making them feel stronger than they did when they came in the building, on a relatively nightly basis. So, there you go. That’s God’s work.”

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