Humans of Olami: Andrew Markowitz

The day of Andrew Markowitz’s Bar Mitzvah it snowed. It snowed so much that it grew into the biggest December snowstorm on record in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. Perhaps that was just a little foreshadowing of the future that Andrew would be exploring many years later. Today, Andrew works in Meteorology, learning and growing in his field while also spending a great deal of his free time with Olami Denver Experience as both a participant and a leader. So both Judaism and weather became important aspects of his adult life.

Andrew eventually left Delaware and went to college at Penn State where he graduated with degrees in meteorology and energy business and finance. While he was there, his modest Jewish upbringing led him to make connections with the local Hillel and Aish chapters, attended Shabbat dinners and the Birthright trip. “I would say, in recent years, Judaism has become more important. At least, finding that sense of community,” he recalls. “Once I graduated, I became involved with the JCC in DC. They had a program called Shabbat Clusters where you had young professional Jews getting together for Shabbat dinners, and I felt that was a great way to get connected.”

Those Shabbat dinners left a big impression on Andrew. In fact, it was Andrew’s experience with  Shabbat Clusters that inspired the formation of the Mile High Shabbat Pods, currently running through Olami Denver Experience. “Sometimes, if you’re new and don’t really know anybody, it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle (of big Shabbos dinners) so the idea here is that you have smaller, more intimate dinners, so that you can get that same experience of Shabbat with all the traditions, but with a smaller group, so it’s easier to become closer with that community.” 

“I’m in Rino, and there might be another one in Wash Park or Hilltop. We may even expand to the Boulder area or other suburbs. It was something that moving to Denver I felt was kind of missing. I wanted to do what I could to get it off the ground, and Rabbi Wolfe has been very supportive of that.”

Of course, Shabbat Pods are not the only area of Judaism that has been growing in Andrew’s life. He also recently completed the Olami Mentorship program, “I felt like it was good to have somebody who helped me learn more about these Jewish customs, since I never really got a formal Jewish education when I was younger,” he explains. “My mentor and I went over the Parsha every week that they sent us, as well as personal and historical experiences. A lot of learning about the ‘why’ behind what we do.”

The Mentorship program concluded with a massive Summit in Spain last month with thousands of Jewish people from all over the world. “They claimed it was the largest gathering of Jews in Spain since the Inquisition. I felt like it was a pretty powerful experience to go on a trip like that.”

As Andrew looks towards the future, his career path growing in Meteorology and commitment to the Jewish community continues to soar. His advice to anyone considering attending an Olami event or even just thinking about reaching out, “You know, once you graduate, and you’re in the real world, it becomes a lot more difficult to form relationships. It’s not like people are coming up to you if you don’t actually take the initiative and you’re just sitting in your house all day. Nothing’s going to happen. So pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, or just a little outside it, you’d be surprised what can happen from there.”

Connect with Andrew:
Tiktok: @andrewmarkowitz96
Facebook: Meteorologist Andrew Markowitz
Instagram: @andrewmarkowitzwx

Learn More about Mile High Shabbat Pods
Learn More about the Olami Mentorship Program

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