As soon as you open the doors to Maccabee’s deli, the aroma of warm flavorful food hits your nose. Upon entering, you will likely be greeted by the owner of the deli, Rabbi Jacobson. There is a cozy, comforting vibe to the place. There are several tables in the front of the deli, allowing customers to enjoy freshly made Kosher meals in store. And on the south wall, there is a mural of the western wall of Jerusalem, an extremely sacred space for the Jewish community, as it is the one remaining part of the Second Temple and is also believed to be the location were the next and last Temple will be rebuilt upon the arrival of the Messiah.
The entire deli is filled with items relating to Judaism, such as books on a variety of topics ranging from anti-Semitism to exploring one’s soul, pamphlets with instruction on how to follow and perform certain religious practices, and festive decorations depending on the time of year. Past the dining area, there is a small grocery area, full of Kosher foods and religious goods. The products offered range from candy to microwave meals to frozen meats, giving a visitor a variety of kosher products to choose from.
Rabbi Jacobson follows the Chabad sect of Judaism, which is also known as Lubavitch. Chabad was founded by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi and falls under the “Ultra-orthodox” (not modern Orthodox) branch of Judaism. It is a fairly new movement, compared to how long Judaism has been in existence, blossoming especially after the Holocaust. During that time members of Chabad were key in helping Jewish people with both their material and spiritual needs. Chabad is very spiritual, and pushes its followers to partake in deep, critical thinking. People who practice Chabad find it important to go past the physical part of oneself in order to reconnect with one’s soul.
An important practice by those who are Jewish is following a strictly Kosher diet. This can be difficult at times, especially during travel. Many of the visitors of Maccabee’s deli are Jewish people in town for business. Maccabee’s is the only Kosher deli in the state, so when Jews who observe a Kosher diet need a place to eat, this is where they go. Not only does the deli provide people with warm meals that satisfy their religious practices, it also brings together like-minded people. Indeed, the deli functions as a focal point for the Des Moines Jewish community, welcoming and creating connections for all who have the pleasure of visiting.
Although religious services are not held in the deli itself, Rabbi Jacobson’s own home, which is less than two miles from Maccabee’s, contains a Chabad Synagogue called Lubavitch of Iowa. His own Chabad group meets there, as does the Orthodox Synagogue, Beth El Jacob, which recently sold its building.
By Arianna Calleja
- Sunday, 11:00am–4:00pm
- Tuesday, 11:00am–5:00pm
- Wednesday, 11:00am–6:00pm
- Thursday, 11:00am–6:00pm
- Friday, 10:00am–3:00pm
- 1150 Polk Blvd, Des Moines, Iowa 50311
Lubavitch of Iowa Synagogue
- 943 Cummins Pkwy, Des Moines, IA 50312
Etiquette for Synagogue
- Dress should be business casual
- Women should wear modest clothing, covering shoulders and knees