Throughout the band Disturbed’s Aug. 3 show in West Palm Beach, Florida, Sophia stood in the front row with her parents, singing along to the performance by the dark group, known for booming anthems like “Down with the Sickness.”
The band leader David Draiman, 50, a Jewish musician and strong defender of Israel, invited the girl to join him on stage, according to news reports, but the invitation scared Sophia, who began to cry.
Draiman paused the performance and descended from the stage to address the girl. “It’s OK. I didn’t mean to scare you. You OK? You promise?” he said, in an exchange captured on video and shared online. The girl nodded.
“Oh, darling, you’re making me feel terrible now,” he added. He told the audience that he loved that the band’s concerts are a “family affair.”
Draiman also told the girl that he is proud of her, that she is awesome. He asked her name, and when she told him, he told the audience: “Everyone say hello to Sophia.” He also asked for her parents’ names. “Everyone say hello to Rita and Arthur,” he added.
“This little girl has been singing her heart out the entire show,” he told the audience. “She knows so many of the songs.”
“We may be dark,” Draiman added to Sophia. “But let me share a secret with you. Sometimes, darkness can show you the light.” Nodding, Sophia gave Draiman a fist bump.
Draiman has said that the anti-Israel BDS movement is “based on hatred of a culture and of a people in a society that has been demonized unjustifiably since the beginning of time.”
The singer, who attended Orthodox schools growing up and trained as a cantor, has posted on X (formerly Twitter) about “My Savta, Ziona Draiman. A Yemenite Jew whose family immigrated to Israel in the early 1900s. Tough as nails. Love her.”