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The night I almost ran over Matisyahu


A Hasidic Jew with the Torah in his heart and reggae-rock in the soul? Seemed like it was worth a peek on a lazy Sunday in the fall of 2005. The mysterious Matisyahu, an abider of Talmudic law and a lover of Marley and Phish, had just started getting some play on the radio with King Without a Crown.

That "peek", as it turns out, became a near tragedy. As I was driving (probably too quickly) down that narrow alleyway behind the State, Matis himself burst from the heavy double doors right in front of the car. He wasn’t hit, but he was stunned to say the least.

When I tried to approach him, someone muttered, "He can’t," and Matis scurried off. At the time I felt confused and kind of dissed. Later though, I’d learn the Talmud restricts contact between the sexes (no handshakes, no stage diving, nothing that would put him in contact with a woman). And as an Italian, I am sure I put my hands in pretty close range, so I think he feared my touch.

Hopefully, we’re kosher now. So sorry, Matis.

(Matisyahu plays with Les Claypool at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Jannus Landing, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $35. (727) 896-2276.)

-- Carole Giambalvo, tbt*. Photo by Getty Images.

[Last modified: Monday, June 1, 2009 1:00pm]


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