Haifa Market Storefront


Just three years ago did I truly understand the strength of the community my family created. My grandfather immigrated here with the intention of becoming a doctor, having completed most of his education in Cairo, Egypt. What set him back was the number of people who told him just how difficult it would be for a Muslim immigrant to become successful in the United States, especially with education from elsewhere. As much as he wanted to pursue a career in chemistry, he quickly came across buildings for rent and, with that observation, an opportunity to start a business: Haifa Market.        

Part of what made his small store so successful was the sense of community it brought with it. Many of the first few customers were immigrants who had been assisted in coming here by my grandfather. They too had been displaced from Palestine by Israeli occupants. As time went by, however, people from the surrounding neighborhood of Park Slope began to become regulars as well. Many of them were elderly people who came not just for food but also for the company their children no longer provided them. Customers would often tell my grandfather of how they learned something about Palestinian culture through the different foods we shared, and about Islam through the environment the store provided. When a fire caused the store’s closing in 2015, a wave of sadness rippled through Haifa Market’s community for miles, a sadness for the loss of such a beautiful and immigrant-made place.

Place(s): Palestine, Egypt, New York
Year: 1958

– Asma

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant