My Accidental Run-in with Jamaican Matisyahu Fans in Monsey

This is actually a true story! And no, Shlomo Carlebach wasn’t in it.

Years ago, when I was single and lived in New York, I would take the Monsey Trails bus to Monsey to visit relatives from time to time on Erev Shabbos. Normally, I would get off at the Pathmark stop at Route 59, and would then wait for the “dollar bus” to go down that Route where I would then get off by Tuvia’s book store.

However, many times that dollar bus either would come but only go up to a certain point (not reaching my destination), or not show up for a good 20 minutes. Needless to say, I started growing impatient on Friday afternoons. What I started doing was to wait for a red light, then ask cars/vans to roll down their windows at which point I asked, usually a Chassid with a wife and 6-10 children, if there was an extra seat available for me to hitch a quick ride. Usually they were gracious enough to do for me this small act of Chesed.

One Friday, though, I waited for a red light and saw a minivan that was tinted. I signalled the window to go down and saw these two black Jamaican dudes with dreadlocks, etc.! Let’s call them the Heilige Jamaicans (Carlebach guitar, where are you?). I ask them if I can get a ride down Route 59, to which they reply, “Ya mon, come right in!” I get in and they start driving.

Noting my Yarmulke, they ask me that since I’m Jewish, do I like Matisyahu? I reply that I’m alright with him, at which point one of the two guys takes out a Matisyahu CD and starts to play it in the car! These guys are then jamming to Matisyahu and my jaw drops throughout the 2 minute trip! I guess they wanted me to feel more “at home” or something.

If this isn’t a Kiddush Hashem caused by Matisyahu, I don’t know what is.