None of the expectations Brandon Fisher had for his twenties have panned out. “None of my expectations for my life have happened,” Fisher explains, “But instead, it’s so much better. I got rejected from 200 job offers but I prayed – I just wanted the one job offer.” And the one he got was in Vail, Colorado, which eventually brought him to Denver, where his journey really took off.
But to truly tell Fisher’s story, one has to go back a few years, to a young Jewish boy who was raised in Maryland. He went to services every week with his family – they held Shabbat Dinners every week, and Judaism mattered a lot to him – but the motivation and beauty behind it were missing. Instead, young Brandon found it boring. “At my Bar Mitzvah my Rabbi asked me what his job was. I said ‘you tell us what page to turn to.’ And he was pretty offended. I mean, I went to a Jewish school, I took Judaism seriously, but to me, that was what he did. Obviously, I know better now and know that rabbis do so much more, but that was my understanding at the time.”
Thankfully, Brandon’s journey took him to the Yeshiva of Greater Washington once a week. Then, he got to college and eventually found himself at the Chabad on campus at UCF in Orlando, Florida, thanks to a persistent friend. The light for Brandon was ignited there and he recalls, “I loved it instantly. I made the best friends and I went every week and started getting connected and involved in the Jewish community.”
After that, he enjoyed a trip with Chabad to Chicago, where the importance and significance of Shabbat was explained. “I learned that our grandparents called it Shabbat. Our parents called it Saturday and we called it the day before Superbowl Sunday. Like, it had no significance, it was just another day. And I realized that I needed to start calling it Shabbat, and I needed to wear a Kippah. So I started and things began to matter and really develop for me then.”
Since then, things have really grown for Brandon. He’s lived all over the world – in Austria he studied in Innsbruck and even though he was the only Jew on the trip, he got all his friends to do Shabbat dinner with him, igniting his love of Shabbat even more.
That brings the story back to the one job offer from Vail that came through for him and brought him to Colorado. “I’m working at a hotel and moving up a little bit. And that’s where I started truly keeping Shabbat. That’s where my journey really took off. I was walking three miles to Shul in the snow, in the ice, whatever the conditions were – we walked. You could see the Milky Way at night. It was spectacular. I loved that walk home. I didn’t care how cold it was, I walked home wearing ski gear, snow pants, everything, but it was great.”
After his work in Vail, Brandon moved to Denver and started the Den, learning and living with other Jewish men his age, all developing their own Jewish journeys. They worked with The Jewish Experience to help put the Young Professional scene on the map here in Denver, helping to form the foundations for JewPro, which would eventually become Olami Denver Experience.
A few years ago, Brandon’s journey developed even further, after he attended an Olami Denver Trip to Israel in February 2020. This brought him to Aish, a yeshiva where he has been for the last two years – running leadership programs, podcasting, and figuring out where the next adventure will bring him. Thankfully, he’s found his community within the Jewish world – finding connection wherever he may be, “I don’t know what it is, but we (the Jewish people) have something in common, and that something is our essence, our soul. And you feel like you’re never alone when you have that.”
And to other young Jewish people looking to find where they fit in and what their own Jewish journey will look like, Brandon offers this advice, “It’s a really hard process. It’s a journey. And that journey throws a lot of challenges at us. If I look back at where I thought I’d be five years ago, it would not be here. But instead, it’s so much better. I’m more aligned and closer to where I want to be. Sure, I was rejected from 200 job offers, but I prayed for that one to come through. And that one brought me to Vail and to Denver. Sure it stinks to get 199 rejections, but the point is, when things get hard, you gotta stick through it, get support, build a team, have a mentor and trust that G-d is running the show.”