By COLlive reporter
Ahead of Iowa’s prized presidential caucus for the Democratic party, Jackson Richman of JNS news service traveled through the state and found an open door policy at Maccabee’s Kosher Deli in Des Moines.
The deli is run by Rabbi Yossi Jacobson, Chabad Shliach and Director of Lubavitch of Iowa. Along with his wife and 7 children, they have been serving the spiritual and material needs of Jewish population for 28 years – and even the political visitor.
Just 3 weeks ago, a few Palestinian volunteers from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign had lunch at the deli ahead of the Iowa Caucus which will be held Feb. 3, 2020.
“People love coming here. They feel a sense of clarity where there’s so much noise and clutter; they come to hear the calling,” Rabbi Jacobson said. “They come to hear how Jewish people stand on all these issues.”
Campaign volunteers not only go to the deli, but to the Jacobsons for Shabbos meals. “Because there is so much noise today, people are beginning to hear the calling of Torah – the calling that G-d is calling everyone here for a mission to fulfill,” he says.
The deli went from contents in freezers at the Jacobsons’ home to a store, thanks to the help of the community and former Governor Terry Branstad, whose mother was Jewish, Richman reports.
Rabbi Jacobson has helped people across the board, whether it’s girls who were abused by their fathers or a former successful businessman who has been jobless for two years. The rabbi has made some calls to help get the man hired, reassuring that someone out there will employ him.
“These callings come, you act on it,” said Jacobson. “It’s more than just spreading Judaism. It’s spreading humanity, spreading morality, encouraging people to be responsible to the gift of life God wants them to have – not to throw it away. So the deli has become a lot more than just pastrami and corn beef and matzah-ball soup. This is the excuse why they come here.”
Among traditional Jewish offerings, “The Maccabee” is the most popular item on the menu, said Rabbi Jacobson. The specialty sandwich is one-third a pound of corned beef and roast beef.
Rabbi Jacobson remarked that he’s open to the 2020 presidential candidates visiting the deli. “I welcome everyone as a human being,” he said.