* Walter Sobchak in “The Big Lebowski”: What a character, but an absolute tough Jew who defends the faith. “Three thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax—You’re … right I live in the past!”
* Taylor Reese in “Knockaround Guys”: Vin Diesel’s character in the movie has him take off his jacket where he had a huge Star of David tattoo on his arm. He then beat the toughest bully in a neighborhood bar to a bloody pulp.
* David Greene in “School Ties”: Portrayed by Brandon Frasier, Greene is a working class tough kid who wins a football scholarship; handsome, smart and hard-working, he challenges his racist classmates and the school administration.
* Tevye in “Fiddler on The Roof“: Perhaps the most famous Jewish character in theater or movies, he is indeed a tough man. He manages to keep his family together, knows when to laugh and keeps his faith despite tremendous difficulty. He stands up to the thugs who disrupt his daughter’s wedding and keeps the faith.
There were some close runner-ups, including Charlton Heston as Moses, and multiple Kirk Douglas characters. The quintessential tough Jew, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, wrote movies and books all his life – and it’s fitting that today there are movies depicting tough Jewish characters.
Chazak Ve-ematz — Be Strong and Have Courage — are words from the Torah. It’s beautiful to see courageous Jews portrayed on screen as they are in real life.
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