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September 15, 2021 1:41 pm

Motorcyclist Visits 42 Jewish-Style Delis Across America to Fight Poverty in US, Israel

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Steve Goode outside Jake’s Deli in Milwaukee. Photo: Provided/MAZON.

A Chicago-based motorcyclist has toured 42 of the best Jewish-style delis in nearly every state in the country to raise money for a non-profit that aims to end hunger for people of all faiths and backgrounds in the US and Israel.

Steve Goode spent 75 days this summer on his 16,000-mile trip across the US, which he called the “Great American Deli Schlep.” The 67-year-old motorcycle enthusiast, who has previously undergone three major cross-country motorcycle rides, created his itinerary based on a map by The Nosher that covered the best Jewish-style deli in every state. After discussing his plan with his wife, she suggested he partner with MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger — an organization “inspired by Jewish values and ideals,” according to its website.

Goode ended his trip on Aug. 14 at Jake’s Deli in Milwaukee. To date, his journey has raised more than $18,000 for MAZON, the non-profit told The Algemeiner on Wednesday, with donations still coming in.

“The trip was pretty intense,” Goode told ABC 11 news, while speaking about his schedule as well as the obstacles he faced along the way. He said he started each day at roughly 6 a.m. and went to bed at around 10 p.m. During his voyage, he was hit by a wayward tire on the New Jersey Turnpike, rode through a monsoon in Texas, and was forced by forest fires to change his route in the Pacific Northwest.

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He added that nearly every deli he visited was family-owned and had a distinctive story about its origins and style. He said, “My wife coined the [phrase], ‘New friends, old food.’ That’s really what I took away. If you want a deli anywhere in the country, call me! I know the guys!”

Goode, a member of the international Jewish Motorcycle Alliance, was set to begin his trip in May 2020, but it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. MAZON told The Algemeiner that before the pandemic, the US Department of Agriculture estimated that about 38 million Americans were facing food insecurity, defined as being unsure where their next meal will come from. The number nearly doubled to around 80 million during the COVID-19 crisis, also due to the rise in unemployment as a result of the pandemic.

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