About Leah

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.

Cooking Videos
Video Library Here
Leah's Pantry Pick

Leah's Kosher Pantry
View what is in the pantry

Kitchen Gadgets
Small Appliances

Bookmark and Share

Bali in Service
Posted: February 6, 2011 By: Leah Jaffee

It is the rainy season in Bali, La Nina wrecks havoc on Australia and we are to the northwest catching torrential rainfall. It is fine with me as I'm pretty much in a seminar room all day. Here, near the equator, the days and nights are fairly split. I'm not big on going out at night in the tropics, being a particular delicacy for mosquitoes. And, as far as being a party girl, kosher caterer is about as fun as I get!

Bali - offering

I am intrigued by the Balinese, the ones I've been able to see, anyway. They are predominantly the working staff of the hotel, the transport drivers, and the shop people. There is a certain amount of curiousity on both their parts and mine....they look like me and I look like them. My grandparents are from the Phillipine Islands, not that far to the northeast. My sister once visited New Zealand and had a similar experience, taking a meal with a person she met who looked just like her. My father, born on Kuaui in 1927 had been a merchant marine and eventually settled in Seattle. We are used to Hawaii with its cultural diversity. I'm used to Rainier Valley with its rich blend of ethnic variation. I find that I'm less used to so many faces that look like my family.

Bali - hotel staff

The global community, in which we are all painfully a part of, has reduced the ethno-centric authentic expression of a culture to an after dinner floor show. That is why I use the word 'painful'. The innate connection to place, the long history of tradition, has been bent like a bamboo reed to accommodate the sterile politically correct and generic existence of life devoid of consciousness or spiritual connection all over the earth. I'm not an anthropologist, careful to cause the least amount of disruption to a place. I'm a tourist, checking the number of stars on the hotels plaquard to see how accommodating of me the culture will be.

Bali - hotel staff 2

This lovely woman has a tray of offerings that are abundant at every turn in Bali. They are placed on the ground for their earthly dieties and on shelves and shrines for their heavenly dieties. Without any research, I'm guessing that my Rabbi would say 'idol worship' is the order of the day here. And, it is very orderly. In countless places and countless times, the offerings are placed as a matter of routine existence. This is natural to the people here, even as they acquire more Internet and access to the outstide world. As I listened to the loudest thunder the other night, as I squinted tighter against the flashes of lightening, I came to realize how people who have lived closer to nature might feel vulnerable against the elements and desire to appease the forces. I wanted to jump out of bed and yell for more offerings!

As a tourist, I am welcomed by the Balinese even as they have had to adapt to the continual influx. Foreign invaders that we are, we come now with wheeled suitcases, golf clubs and dollars instead of swords and guns. We don't bring smallpox but we bring the virus of computers and technology, possibly the infection of greed and envy. The average tourist spends in 1 day what a native would spend in 2 months. I think I am having a bout of culture shock...

Bali - dancer

I watched a dance performance last night of a traditional epic. I was intrigued with the movements of arms and hands, the upturned toes and the way the torso glided. I wondered what it would have been like to be a part of the communal performance around a fire in the primitive jungle surroundings. Looking at the eyes of the dancers as they played their parts, they were intensely communicative, the 'seeing' from deep within. After the performance, the troupe posed with audience members for pictures. Looking beyond the beauty of the women and costumes, looking into their eyes, they continued to see from deep within....without any apparent joy. Another paradise lost.


Post New Comment
Show Contact Info:

Please enter the text in the image exactly as it appears in the box.  

Community Members

View Leah's Videos By:

Login Here
» Register Here
Join Our Mailing List

Chef Of The Week

Barbara Williamson
Congratulations to our chef of the week.
Keep In Touch

What food would you like to see Leah video next?
Chicken Soup, Kreplach, and Matzoh Balls
Stuffed Cabbage
Other ~ "CONTACT LEAH" for suggestion

Please login or register to vote.

My Favorite Links
CRC Liquor List

Va'ad of Greater Seattle

Orthodox Union