“Free Rubashkin” signs posted in Jewish neighborhoods drew thousands of people who evidently expected to walk away from the Crown Heights event with glatt kosher beef at no cost.
The crowd began chanting, “Where’s the beef?” and “We Want Flanken Now” when they realized they had come to a rally to protest the incarceration of Agricoprocessors CEO Shalom Rubashkin, whose Aaron’s and Rubashkin brand meats have become a staple of kosher kitchens.
Several speakers attempted to discuss what they termed the injustice of Rubashkin’s 27-year sentence on fraud charges, but were drowned out by the unruly crowd.
“I shlepped all the way from Lakewood,” said Sruly Schnurer, 28. “I’ve got the kiddish club by me this Shabbos. I was hoping for some smoked turkey pastrami cold cuts gratis. Kollel doesn’t pay what it used to, you know.”
An hour into the event one of the organizers ran to a nearby kosher grocery to buy some packages of steak but that only further stirred up the crowd as they demanded some side dishes, and began chanting “We Want Shlishkes, Now.”
The local Shomrim Patrol was able to eventually disperse the crowd by giving out vouchers for Gefilte Fish-flavored ice cream at Max and Mina’s in Kew Gardens Hills.
It was the latest disappointment for Ida Frugalest of Monsey, a self-described bargain hunter and Groupon groupie, who has found it more difficult lately to score swag.
“I went to the Young Israel last month for an event promising ‘Free Pollard,’ and all they gave out was petitions,” said Ida.
She did, however, score big at a “Free Soviet Jewry” rally 25 years ago, when she came home with a man named Boris who is now her husband.