Hanneh "Mama" Habash Born in Jerusalem on April 24, 1924. Mama grew up in Taybeh, Palestine, the biblical town of Ephraim, which has remained a Christian community for 2000 years. She married Naoum in 1942. In 1956, they emigrated to America with their four young children and settled in Detroit for five years. In 1961, Mama and her family moved to Hermosa Beach and started a small grocery store at 828 Hermosa Avenue, and then opened the famous Habash Cafe at 233 Pacific Coast Highway in 1969. Mama is well-known throughout the South Bay for her fine Arabic food. Her motto was: "When you feed them, fill them up; and when you beat them, beat them up." When Mohammed Ali was in the Los Angeles area, he would fill up on Mama's cooking and make himself at home in Mama's restaurant for hours on end, visiting with Mama and the family and all who gathered around. She is survived by Son, Jay Habash, Daughter, Fatina Johnston, Grandaughters, Michelle & Nicole Basil & Yvette Habash, Grandsons, Chase Johnston, Daniel, Anthony, Gregory, Jayden, Jeremy & Nathan Habash, Great Grandaughters, Shelby Habash, Brianna & Savanna Hickey & Taylor Johnston. A gathering of family & friends will be Monday, November 28, 2005, 4:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. at Rice Mortuary in Torrance, CA. The Funeral Service will be Tuesday, November 29, 2005, 12:00 P.M. at The Hope Chapel in Hermosa Beach, CA. Burial will follow at Pacific Crest Cemetery in Redondo Beach.

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  1. Mama Habash was one of those warm, unforgettable people. She was solid, a hard worker with lots of faith and courage to sustain her. And Mama had both a forgiving soul and wonderful sense of humor! I met her quite a long time ago and have always admired her. I believe she is happily reunited with Naoum, Bill and Naj as well as her birth family, cooking up a storm, getting it ready for the rest of us.

  2. May God Bless Mama in Heaven. She was an incredible woman and I’ll miss visiting with her over a bowl of Lentil Soup. My heart goes out to Tina, Jay and all of the Family. With love and sympathy from the Noor Family.

  3. I am very saddened by the news of Mama’s passing. I know she has had health problems in the past few years but I also felt that she would never pass away. She was a beautiful and warm and loving person, and I cared for her very much. I felt close to her and she was good to me. Of course, I loved the food that she made but I also respected and loved her strength of character, her total dedication to her family and I could feel the pain that she suffered in life. I visited her after her “retirement” and she welcomed me. I loved her as a mother and I sincerely understood her love of God, family and doing what is good and right in life. I hope that we can all emulate what she has shown us. I feel that she is from a generation of survivors who are stronger and better than our generation. She was able to endure great suffering and challenge. I enjoyed the beautiful food that she prepared for me, but more importantly I learned a meaningful lesson about the beauty of life each time I visited her kitchen. I felt that I was making a visit to an important class in the meaning of life, a lesson in values and ethics and a test of my character when I would visit Mama. I remember seeing her in the hospital and I remember seeing her in her prime. She was a strong, honest, devout and beautiful person that represents what is good (and missing) in today’s world. I extend my condolences to Jay and Tina with the loss of the mom. Best regards from Tony Collins in the UAE. Her funeral in on the day of my birthday, which gives me even more reason to pause and think. God bless us all.

  4. I will miss my loving Teta for the rest of my entire life. She was not only my Grandmother she was the mother I never had. And I LOVE her and god bless. P.S. Teta you will always be my hommie. R.I.P.

  5. The Habash Cafe is legendary in Hermosa Beach, and Hanneh Habash is an icon for the entire South Bay. The memory of her service to this community is a testament to the way things used to be, when Hermosa was truely a sleepy, beachside town. She will be remembered by many as a purveyor of traditional Middle Eastern cuisine, and as the matriarch of the Habash family. I am sure that there is no finer baklava on this earth than that made by Mama Habash. I send my sincerest condolences to her family.

  6. Jay and Tina Sorry to hear of your mothers passing. She was a good woman. Will be missed greatly. Hope you two are hanging in there. Sincerely, Roy Dunbar

  7. shalom BABA where would any of us be without yourmother? go to karaoke and sing a slow sad song,It will help.WE are all still here Barry

  8. About 28yrs,agao i had never heard of a falafel walked into habash cafe and instantly became hooked and was greeted by an angel “mama”To Jay and the habash family my prayer’s are with you.Art Gonzalez(Little co.of Mary hospital P.B.X)

  9. in loving memory of the best grandmother. my life wouldn’t be the same without her influence. thank you & i love you.

  10. So sorry to hear of the passing of ‘Mama’. My ex-wife, Diane, and son, Adam were regulars in the cafe for years. We were always treated like family. Mama even had a picture of Adam by the register. And the grand-daughters used to babysit Adam. My prayers are with the family.

  11. To Jay, Fatina and Family I am so sorry to learn of Mama’s passing. She was one of the most sweetest ladies I ever knew. She had a heart of gold. I wanted to let you know I have moved to Colorado as of last August, which means I won’t be able to attend the memorial. Just know that she, Papa, Bill and Najwa will always be in my heart, forever and ever. Feel free to e mail me anytime. I miss you all very much. Chris

  12. I will miss my grandmother dearly. She was a mother figure to me. She was always there for me; to lend her ear, lend advice, make sure I was fed, and just all around make sure I was doing well. She was a different person after she closed the resturaunt. When she stopped running the resturaunt this personality came out that nobody saw before. She was so full of laughter, and just had this personality that made you fall in love with her right away. This is what I am going to miss about her most…her jokes, her laughter that lit up a room and her sense of humor. I will miss my grandmother more than words could express. Teta, I love you

  13. Dear jay and Tina I was a friend of naj’s, if you remember long ago when we were children on Manhattan ave. I was the very fat child from down the street. I am sorry for your loss; your mama was the first one to give me yogurt, and I’m still in love with it. God Bless You all. Margo Matson

  14. Fatina, I was very sorry to read about your Mom passing away. Your Mom did a whale of a job in adding good food and culture to everyone’s lives. Keep the faith. Gary/Tanquerey327

  15. I have known Mama for a little over 20 years now. She has touched so many peoples’ lives that I have seen and witnessed throughout the years including mine. 1985 was the first time I meet her, my brother-in-law “Jay” and my sister picked me up from the airport and took me to the Cafe to get some food. I got the “lamb kabob” with lots of HOT sauce. I ate the first one and wanted another. After I ate the second she asked if I wanted a third. She made sure I was full. And until 2 weeks ago she was still making sure I was full with all her delicious food. She was the “IRON CHEF”!!!!! Mom has been there and helped me through some tough times in my life and shared a lot of happy times with me up to the day she pasted. She is missed dearly each and every day that goes by. Jay and Tina….I love you guys and I am truly sorry for your loss. Mama…..”SABAH HABITY!” I love you. I miss you. You have blessed me. Thank you.

  16. Dear Fatina, Jay and Family: I know how much Mama will be missed by you all. I witnessed first hand the love she showered upon each member of your family. May you find comfort in knowing that she touched so many with a heart so generous and giving. I loved her wicked sense of humor, a constant presence even when challenged by illness. But, most of all her unwaivering faith in God even in times of dispair and grief will always serve as an inspiration to me. With sympathy and love, Kathy Pahlow

  17. One night, long ago, about 30 years at least, someone visiting my home on the weekend told me about a little cafe and described to me some very unusal food – the following Monday on my lunch break I hurried to this place and met MaMa Habash and the food of course was Falafel:-) MaMa and I became very good friends – I spent a lot of time with her at the cafe – we’d visit and eat and I would wash dishes – it was an honor just to be there with her – one day a lady came in and MaMa and I were sitting together at the counter and the lady said Oh is this your daughter and MaMa looked at me with such love in her eyes and she said “Yes” – another highlight was when she, myself and and my husband Gilbert went to see Billy Graham together – she didn’t think she could leave the cafe but Naj said No MaMa you go and see Billy Graham – I didn’t get to see MaMa for many years because I now live out of the area on the Chemehuevi Indian Reservation – she called me not too long ago and I truly regret that I did not get down to see her – She will always be a highlight in my life – I love you MaMa – This is not goodbye but just so long for now – we will see each other again – Prayers to Tina and Jay and all the rest of the family, Love, Lillian Parra

  18. Teta, you are someone that I will never forget. You will be in my heart always. I miss the old days at Habash Cafe with you and Cido and Jay and Najwa. It was work, but it was fun. I miss dropping you off at home after work. You always had a prayer and kind words at the end of each shift. To Jay and Tina and the rest of the family, just know now that she is reunited with Cido, Bill and Najwa. They are celebrating in heaven right now. Probably eating a #7. You are all in my heart. Teta, rest in peace. I love you.

  19. Tina and Jay, What a wonderful woman your mother was. Do you remember all those years ago when we held the first falafel eating contest? What a great event….I know your Mom really got a big kick out of a bunch of goofy kids having so much fun in her little restaurant(the old version). Papa playing the oud,and everybody nourished in both body and soul, nothing but smiles and laughter and wonderful smells…the toilet clock on the wall…Naj and Bill…..the hot sauce when it was really hot…and always your Mom with such a look of contentment… that her cooking was bringing so much joy….I am sure that these great periods in life don’t come around too often, and I am glad to have known her and you all….All the best to you and yours Tom Penland

  20. The loss of my dear Aunt Hanneh has been difficult for me because she has been here my whole life. I will always have the wonderful memories that was shared throughout my lifetime with her and the family, memories that I will treasure forever. From the time we lived in Michigan she and the family lived one floor above us, to the time she lived in Hermosa Beach just a few miles away, she was always there. The things I will always remember was how hard she worked and her love for God, food, family and freinds. She has suffered the loss of her husband my dear amo Naum, and the loss of what no mother should suffer which is the loss of her children,Nabil, and Najwa. May God give Jihad, Tina the grandchildren and great grandchildren the strength they need to help them with their loss. May God Bless my Dear Aunt Hanneh and may she rest in peace.

  21. Dear Family and Friends of the Habash Family: The loss of Imm Nabil, as I alwways called her (Hanneh Habash) has been difficult, following the recent death of her husband (Naum), her son (Nabil), and daughter (Najwa)-all within the past few years. I visited Imm Nabil many times in recent years, along with my wife, Norma. Each time we would go to her house, she would feed us something delicious. She loved cooking. She was a great cook. She wanted all her relatives to call her and ask about her. I only have good memories of Imm Nabil. I spoke with her many times on the phone and few days before she died. She appeared tired and as if time had come to be with God. May the Lord Jesus Christ Bless her soul and be with her family. Love, Makram Gharib

  22. Tina, Jay and Family, I am so sorry to hear about Auntie Hanneh’s passing. My fondest memory (or just one that I’ll never forget) is how she showed me to walk through the aisles of the market after I dropped a bottle of wine. We will all miss her. On behalf of my family, please accept our deepest sympathy. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.

  23. Mama touched so many people with her wonderful cooking and personal approach to running the family restaurant. She was a great Christian lady. I’ve since moved away from the South Bay 19 years ago, but visited back through the years often and every visit included a stop by the cafe for a falafel or madjara (sp?) salad, maybe some kibby. It was all delicious. Habash Cafe was always a homey place to enjoy some great ethnic cuisine and chat with whomever might be there. I recall the old side alley entrance to the original cafe, that place had character and a great aura as well. When the new place was opened I was disappointed at first, but eventually grew to realize it was about the family and about Mama mostly. I have never found another Middle Eastern eatery with those flavors or feel for doing it all the Habash way. God Bless your family in this time.

  24. To all of the Habash Family. Words of condolence will never fill the void left by Mama’s passing, only time can attempt to lessen it. She had the benefit, in this life, of a loving family, and thousands of friends. She was everybody’s “Mama”. Many strangers may have entered her restaurant, but only new extended family members left it. May your heats be lifted up in knowing how many people had their heart touched by her smile and her genuine love. She will never be forgotten, as she will be in all of our hearts forever. May the good Lord grant you peace, and comfort in this time of great loss. (I guess the good Lord just couldn’t wait another moment for one of her legendary Kibby’s.)

  25. I felt the need to leave another note. When I think of Mama I think of the TV show Touched By An Angel. Roma Downey announces to the people at the end of the program that she is an Angel sent to them by God. I think of Mama the same way. She was truly an Angel and made a remarkable impact on my life, as did Najwa, Bill and Papa. If there is one thing that Mama taught me in all the years I knew her, it is forgiveness. Words cannot describe how important it is to love and forgive those close to you. It took me many years. But with Mama’s help, I accomplished a major barrier in my life. To know Mama was an amazing gift.

  26. Gosh…I miss your smile, your face, your voice. Wish we could talk again. I’m lonely without you, Mama. I love you. There is a vast emptiness without you. Save me a seat up there, okay? We will meet again. Love, Val XXOO

  27. Dear Jay, Tina, Grandkids, and everyone who’s lives she touched, I’m so sorry for your great loss. I really loved Teta, as I always called her. I learned SO much from her. From age 14-17 I worked part-time after school at Habash Cafe. Yes, I know that was young, but I initially started going there to help my dad, who worked there many years and loved it. Teta, took me under her wings. She taught me how to be a hard worker. They really helped my family in times of need. Whatever we asked for, they were there for us. She was so dedicated to the restaurant and to her family. She was so kind to me. At that time Sedo Naoum and Naj were around alot. We had a lot of laughs. I loved the way Sedo teased Teta, she would always insist he “Go Home” but I always knew and sensed that deep down she loved him being there and the deep loved she had for him. He could always make her laugh. My father and I would drop her off at home and many nights we would come in to watch a little bit of arabic videos and they would insist my father take home the vhs tape to finish watching at home. Most evenings we would watch religious programs with her. She really had a strong faith. She was really a Great and Strong Woman, mother, wife, grandmother, and friend. She will be missed but it’s a nice feeling to know she will be reunited with her husband and children. God Bless her soul. God Bless your family. With all my love and deepest condolences, Abeer Elizabeth Diab and Family

  28. to the habash family.. I am very sorry for ur lost…. she is in a much better place and well taken care of now…. god bless her soul..

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