Meet Mishpacha’s Eshet Chayil of the Year: Sara Balulu

Meet Mishpacha’s Eshet Chayil of the Year: Sara Balulu

Every Shabbat morning, I visit an old friend who lives nearby. And often when I get there, there is another mother there named Sara who is finishing up her visit before she heads back home with her children. Because of that, I’ve had multiple opportunities to make small talk with Sara, about where she’s from, how many years she’s lived in Israel, how Rosh Hashana went for her, that kind of stuff. She seems like a nice person, one of the many French Jews who live in this part of Jerusalem. But truth is, I never paid so much attention to this woman, who, in my mind, was nothing more than my friend’s friend.

That changed this past Shabbat, though, when our mutual friend said to me, “Do you know that Sara was voted last year’s Eshet Chayil [Woman of Valour]?”

“What do you mean?”

“Sara was just voted Eshet Chayil of the Year by Mishpacha magazine.”

“Really?! WOW!”

The video below produced by Mishpacha Magazine in honor of their annual Eshet Chayil Competition, tells Sara’s inspirational story…(partial translation below). Discovering the Eshet Chayil who is my friend’s friend has gotten me thinking about the Eshet Chayil within each of us, if we could take the time to scratch the surface, and see the personal greatness within the story of every Jewish woman.

My Eshet Chayil–for the Year 5777 (2016-17)

[Sign reads] Welcome! To the judges for the Eshet Chayil Competition for 5777…

[Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi] The fact that this wonderful Jewish tradition [of singing Eshet Chayil] is all about women, from beginning to end [literally, from Aleph to Tuf], for every single woman just as she is. This means that the Torah truly means to crown each and every  woman with this fantastic title–Woman of Valour. So our job here is to choose one woman among champions. Because every single Jewish woman is an Eshet Chayil. It’s a great honor to participate in this competition.

[Gitty Meirovitz: Marketing Editor] To all of the thousands of young women who cope with the small children and with the house and with the husband who is learning or going out to work, they are doing something unbelievable every time they wake up early every morning, and go to sleep late. And still, they do one more small thing, and smile one more time. But the truth is, even when they are not smiling, Jewish women are simply incredible.

[Famous cancer-survivor, author and inspirational speaker Chani Weinrott] As someone who occasionally finds herself receiving applause, I remind myself and have the intention as I am being applauded that I am just a messenger, and am holding all of that applause for all of the women out there who are not famous or spread across the pages of the newspapers, and who don’t participate in events with a competitor’s crown on their heads, but they still cope and manage with so much– anonymously. This applause is for them.

[Sara Balulu, Competitor in the 5777 Eshet Chayil Competition]

Hello, my name is Sara Balulu. I was born in Paris. I married at 19 and after the wedding we moved to Israel, to Bnei Brak.

For a short time my daughter Ora would complain about stomach pains. She would go to kindergarten and the teacher would call and tell me that Ora was not feeling well, and at night she would scream out from pain. Every morning, I was about to take her the hospital. Until I finally said,  Enough! I wanted to figure out what was going on with her once and for all.

I took Ora to the emergency room, and I said I was not going to leave the emergency room until I knew what she had.  That was Thursday, and on Friday we received the bad news that she had a cancerous growth in her abdomen.

That began the difficult period of treatments. Ora was in quarantine for a month.  There was vomiting and she lost her hair, which was a difficult challenge. And people’s questions and the looks and the pity.

Ora is an incredible girl. During this whole period she was brave and strong and she didn’t cry, and she said “I will cope! I will get healthy! I won’t let the disease beat me.”

She had incredible strength of spirit, and she gave me strength as well. I remembered “U’bacharta b’chaim,” the command to choose life, that you can choose whether to go in the direction of life or not, and I thought, what can we do to get out of all the terrible suffering we are experiencing?

And I remembered that I had once really connected with chocolate making. And I thought, I will use this talent that Hashem gave me… it’s possible to make the choice, within every challenge, to see it as a springboard. A springboard to grow, a springboard to see the good.

And that’s the message I would like to send to every person who is coping, or not coping…Dare to taste life. If they do so, they can discover IY”H that there is so much sweetness.


  1. Very inspiring, thank you for sharing. I also really enjoyed listening to the other women as well.

    • me too, I wish mishpacha would put english subtitles for the whole video. so powerful

  2. What a special woman.
    Did her daughter survive?

  3. So touching to see what kind of a woman we see as Eshet Chayil. So different from the secular world, so much more substance. Very inspired! Thanks so posting! (also loved the clips of the other women)

  4. I so much want to get the message out to all Jewishmoms:
    Beware of Chemo – it ruins the immune system (chasveshalom).
    The body can heal cancer naturally with the right nutrition which is a mostly raw plant diet from the earth. Lots of greens, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts. For cancer patients no animal products (no meat, no dairy) for at least a year, after which a 95% plant and only 5% animal diet is recommended.
    Sugar feeds cancer cells !! Please get informed !! Chris Wark has a great site and there are countless testimonials online:

    I don’t have facebook but I do speak french, I’m happy to speak to Sara Balulu.

  5. Beautiful. The first woman in the video – Pedut – teaches my daughter and she loves her.

    Thanks for inspiring us!

  6. Forgot to mention the GRAINS to the greens, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts.

    Here a very amazing testimonial on cancer, and she’s one of many:


  7. I totally remember Sara Balulu from when I used to live in Givat Shaul!!! She also used to have a business selling handmade head coverings, headbands, etc

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