Six Flag’s lifetime ban on Connecticut-born Jay Marc Harris, a chassidic rabbi who goes by the nickname “Flume Dog” because of his great enthusiasm for water slides, has been upheld. Rabbi Flume Dog might have to be satisfied to get all of his thrills and spills and a yeshivah from now on, because Six Flags is not going to let him enjoy the ride. Harris was escorted out of a San Antonio Six Flags in 2011, because of complaints about his behavior at other parks and because he came up to complete strangers and asked if he could “borrow” their young sons to take two-person rides with them. Harris explained that because he is a chassidic Jew, he is not allowed by Torah law to sit next to a woman or girl while having fun on a water slide, and since he was alone, he needed volunteers to accompany him on two-person rides.
Harris was devastated by the ban, and said, “It’s a tragic story in my life.” He filed a lawsuit against Six Flags claiming religious and gender discrimination, but the court ruled that he had passed the statute of limitations for a discrimination suit. Harris then claimed that every time he was barred from Six Flags, it was a new incidence of discrimination, but the judge threw out the claim. The ban was upheld in a court of appeals recently.
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This might seem terribly unfair, since he asked for volunteer water ride companions because of religious stringency, which is understandable, but the million dollar question is why didn’t he ask adult males to accompany him (not that he’d get a lot of volunteers), instead of asking baffled parents if he could borrow their sons? However, the plot thickens when we hear of his other bizarre displays at other parks. For instance he chained himself to a tree at a Six Flags in Atlanta, Georgia and had slept on the property overnight, perhaps to be the first person through the door in the morning. He also asked an employee to walk with him around the park and take pictures of him enjoying the rides.
Now why couldn’t he have taken his chavursa? (yeshivah study partner). Isn’t that what a chavrusa is for? Well, I suppose his Rosh Yeshivah would say Six Flags is bittul torah (a waste of time best spent in learning torah) anyway.