Hazzan Devorah Tucker-Fick

My journey to this moment has been winding and fitting for one of the date of my birth, which occurred during the week of Parashat Beshalach. In fact, I have found that the exact events that seem to lead me off what I assume to be the obvious trajectory in life goals and hopes always becomes the greatest opportunities for “G-d happenings.” It is therefore my experience that everything has been to a purpose in my life to this point, that everything has worked out for me to be here today and committed to this holy and humbling calling.

Considering the reaching of smicha, I recognize that G-d has allowed the decisions I have made and the experiences I have had to be of purpose to others and to my own spiritual growth. While I believe that G-d doesn’t cause us to live certain difficulties, I am convinced we are given strength and guidance to shape everything into tikkun – if we so desire. This perspective has given me the clarity of purpose to apply challenging and sometimes devastating experiences to a conviction that in seeking G-d’s vision for the world, we become active players in the creative process, allowing G-d to take a guiding role in our lives. In turn G-d provides us the opportunity to engage in the creative flow of the situation–to influence the world as G-d creates it.

This is prayer. This is what it is to have a life of spiritual connection to G-d and others, and the reason I am called to a life of spiritual work. Certain experiences in my journey were reframed through prayer to a purpose, and in this way handed over to Divine influence on my mindset and behaviors, to shape me in ways that have been of benefit to my desire to serve with empathy and understanding and a life of mitzvot. In this way I make sense that my own experiences of war and austerity, the loss of my husband and subsequent grief and poverty were never “G-d’s plan,” but instead consequences of natural order, the cards I was dealt to play – but nevertheless applied to the creative process as opportunities which then led to rebirth in the hot spring mikveh and the path I navigate today. To all who have witnessed and walked this journey with me: Thank you.

A Kaddish D’Rabbanan: For all of my teachers, gentle and severe, who walked alongside me, especially those who offered professional opportunities: thank you for giving me a chance, for believing in me, for taking the time to engage in my growth, and for reminding me in moments of doubt that I have committed to a life of trusting in G-d to guide my paths. Your voices of assurance were what sustained me in courage and belief that things would work out. And they did. In fact, they always will.

And to my husband, Jim and our children, Ethan, Ryan, Ellie, and Sophianna: Thank you for everything.