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Hi! Thank you for stopping by to watch me, Leah, cook kosher. I've been the owner operator of my boutique catering firm in Seattle, Leah's Catering, for the past 14 years.

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Bali Ha'i or Bali Chai?
Posted: January 29, 2011 By: Leah Jaffee

Wow. I'm leaving for Bali on Monday night to meet some friends. Feeling a bit of ticket buyer's remorse, I wonder what possessed me to think that I could possibly leave for a vacation now. Booking the reservation just prior to Rosh Hashana, I feel deserving of a break. August is intense with catering, September and October are crazy, and then the website project over-took November until today....and, tomorrow.

Humming the tune from "South Pacific", I realize I'm singing "Bali CHAI is calling...." for the chorus. What? That can't be right so I look up the lyrics on Wikipedia. Ah, "Bali Ha'i" is the correct phrase but I can't find its meaning. Is it 'island' or 'volcano'? Not sure still. I print the lyrics, "Bali ha'i may call you, any night, any day, In your heart you'll hear it call you, 'come away, come away." It continues, "Here I am your special island, come to me, come to me." I must have received a subliminal message while making my decision.

Still not sure I can afford a trip, I book the accommodations and cross my fingers I can pay for the flight. The website project costs a small fortune and I wonder at my priorities. My old friend Harvey, a Jewish radical leftist poet of independent means (is this redundant?), likes the idea of ME going to Bali. Likes it so much he pays for the flight. Gift or loan, he doesn't care. He's traveled Indonesia before and wants me to have an adventure. So, I'm going. I'm a little nervous and finally, tonight, make time to research the trip.

Working as a fashion designer, I travel to Japan and Hong Kong at least a dozen times. The flight, long and tedious, is not as glamorous after the first time. Bali is six hours beyond Hong Kong! Luckily, luckily, I'm flying Cathay Pacifc. They serve kosher meals all the way to Denspasar; whoo-hoo! Now for the rest of the trip....

I'm of the era of growing up watching my father hit the side of the black and white TV to improve the picture. I find that grabbing the sides of my laptop and shaking does not improve the search results: there is NO Chabad in Bali! Jakarta yes, Bali no. Why not? No Jews in Bali, either!

Hmmm, Julia Roberts' hearty smile mocks me: "Don't Eat, Don't Pray, Don't Love".....Leah does Bali!


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