By Rachel Goldman Neubauer
I used to be a really jealous person. I don’t know if that was my nature or if I was conditioned to be that way—growing up as a performer, it sort of seems that competition and jealousy would be things that go hand-in-hand. Either way, I found it hard to be happy for other people’s successes, especially when they were people that I worked with. I haven’t been aware of this part of me in quite a while—or more so, that it had greatly disappeared—until last night. All I knew beforehand was this is a part of me I didn’t like.
I’d like to dedicate this blog posting to Shy Blakeny, who I had the honor of giving his 10th cake to (along with many others) two nights ago at Beit T’Shuvah and whom I work very closely with. He is the one who made me realize this past Shabbat that part of me that I didn’t like has grown and changed into part of me I like. Here was my coworker, my office-mate, my clergy partner, speaking so eloquently of trials and successes…even some things he has that I know that I want. All of me was happy for him. ALL of me. He is someone I am in awe of and there was nothing that I could do but have my heart swell (and kvell a bit) as he spoke. This isn’t a new phenomenon, but perhaps just the first time I ever really noticed it wasn’t the same way I reacted to others’ successes as I did maybe 7 years ago.
I know this past Shabbat was Shabbat Shira and as the cantor, I should probably be talking about music. Yes, there was song and yes, I sang. But Shy was the most ‘musical’ part of Erev Shabbat services to me. Through Shy, I was able to hear the melody of my soul again, and hear at that point that some notes had changed and it was now something I much more enjoyed listening to. It’s nice to know that our own melodies can be re-written, re-orchestrated, tweaked, and enhanced.