Passings: Harold's Kosher Market
Journeys into Paramus
Businesses come and go. That’s life. But the loss of some hits harder than others.
It was an ad in a local paper that conveyed the news to us - Harold’s had closed for good.
The place managed to get us through this past most trying of Passovers – offering up Passover plates and comfort via curbside pick in this year of turbulence. Just after the start of Passover, as COVID’s first wave was reaching its peak, Harold’s closed up to ride out the storm. It would never re-open.
It ends a 90 year run that started in Fair Lawn. Three generations maintained the name and the quality – first as a butcher shop in Fair Lawn, for a while in both Fair Lawn and what was called Harold’s II in Paramus, and then finally just as Harold’s Paramus as one of the first Kosher Markets in the area. It was a place where in addition to meats, it offered up a line of kosher staples. In recent years it was a local favorite for kosher deli specialties. It held its own against various comers. It managed to outlast the lox carving station at Fairway which also closed this year. But in the end it was facing challenges, even before COVID, from changing demographics as well as competition from kosher isles at places like Shop Rite as well as the Glatt market.
Personally, we very much enjoyed its Vegetarian Chopped Liver. But we most looked forward to that time of year when we could ask for a new calendar. It was an annual tradition.
But that’s what Harold’s was all about – even if they did not always realize it themselves. Harold offered up kosher meats and products. But it did more. It was one of our family’s anchors – reassuring and calming in times of unsettling change and uncertainty. It was as integral part of many area Jews lives as was the synagogue. To some it offered a more realistic connection to their ethnic and religious roots – one they could feel comfortable with.
Harold’s and its foods helped folks connect their past to present. At a time when so many futures are so uncertain, its loss is being painfully felt – especially this year.
We will miss the soup, the brisket, the chicken, the veggie chop, and the calendar. But most of all we will miss the community – a place where we connected. Harold’s will be missed but not forgotten.
We will get our food and our candles and our Challah. We will even find a place for anew calendar.
But it won’t be the same.
photo credits: Harold's and nj.com