Sara who Stayed in China

- Sara Imas
Sara Imas was born in Shanghai in 1950 to a Jewish father and a Chinese mother. Her father, Leiwi Imas came to Shanghai as refugee in 1939. He was 54 years old. He fell in love with a Chinese woman. After they got married, he started a wine and carpet business, and managed a small pub. Sara’s father died in April 1962.

After World War II, most Jewish refugees gradually left Shanghai, but some chose to stay. Sara Imas and her family remained.

Before the age of twelve, Sara lived a care-free life. However, after her father passed away, her life was much harder. She left school to work in a Copper Plant. Her marriage was unhappy and she ended up raising her three children by herself. Later, she moved to Israel where she narrowly escaped several clashes between Palestinians and Israelis.

On January 24, 1992, China and Israel established diplomatic relations. That year, at age 42, Sara took a trip in search of her roots. Because Sara was the first and only Chinese-Jewish descendant to return to Israel, she was received by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. In 2002, after living in Israel for ten years, Sara came back to China as the chief representative of the third largest diamond company in the world. In her motherland, Sara found her true love, a professor to whom she is now married.

When asked why she chose to remain in China,
Sara answered with the following poem:

Instead of being the golden deer on the sun,
Or being the Jade Rabbit on the moon,
I’d rather be a tree grown on the land of China.


I devote my heart and soul to this nation,
And wish it a prosperous future.
I would cover each inch of the land
To appreciate the beauty of China.


The Jade Rabbit in Chinese folklore (also called the Moon Rabbit) is a rabbit that lives on the moon.