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Guide to the Muslims in Brooklyn oral histories 2018.006

Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Elena Locascio

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 13, 2019
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Revised by Maggie Schreiner to reflect updated access restrictions.  , April 2019

Container List

Oral History Interview with Mahmoud Widdi, September 27, 2018

Biographical / Historical

Mahmoud Widdi was born in 1957 in Beit Hanina during a period of changing political boundaries. He was raised primarily by his mother and paternal grandfather, and joined his father, Subhi Widdi, in the United States in 1975. He and his cousin opened a Met Foodmarket grocery store in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1983, which they converted into a Foodtown in 2016. He and his wife maintain strong connections to their Palestinian heritage, regularly visiting Beit Hanina and the surrounding area with their children.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Mahmoud Widdi discusses being raised in Beit Hanina, Palestine by his mother and grandfather; his personal experiences with violence and political upheaval in the region; and his thoughts about the conflict moving forward. He expands on his parents' relationship; his father's emigration from Palestine; and his own immigration to the United States as a young adult. He speaks at length about his father's involvement in the assisted living facility St. Nicholas Home in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn; his founding of Widdi Catering Hall; and the community effort to co-name the block the catering hall is located on "Subhi Widdi Way" after his death. Mahmoud also talks about working in his father's grocery stores; opening a Met Foodmarket in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn; and his marriage to his wife and their children. Interview conducted by Svetlana Kitto.

Conditions Governing Access

This interview can be accessed onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and online at the Oral History Portal.

Subject Names

  • Widdi, Mahmoud
  • Widdi, Subhi

Subject Organizations

  • St. Nicholas Home (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • Arab-Israeli conflict
  • Child rearing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family-owned business enterprises -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Grocery trade -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Immigrants -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Immigrant business enterprises -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Israel-Arab War, 1967
  • Muslim families
  • Palestinian Arabs
  • Small businesses -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Bay Ridge (New York, N.Y)
  • Bayt Ḥanīnā
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Israel
  • Palestine
  • Prospect Heights (New York, N.Y.)