Construction, Food Service Plans Updated At Grass Campus

Plans for upcoming construction at the Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life now include a Kosher commercial kitchen.

Earlier this month, The Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg’s Board of Directors voted to approve numerous plans for the campus, including construction of a new, full kosher kitchen. The kitchen, which will include separate dedicated space for meat and dairy, will be built as an extension of the Grass Center, the main administrative building on the west side of 2nd Street.

The decision expands capabilities for hosting both private and public events, and ensures accessibility across community denominations.

“Grass Campus will be a place for everyday living, but also for celebrations and milestones where Jews of all backgrounds will be welcomed,” says Abby Smith, JFGH Board Chair. “Food is central to the communal experiences that we hope will be a mainstay at Grass Campus – after hearing from our community members, we knew that it was a priority to accommodate all levels of observance at our new campus that is truly intended for all in our community.”

The new plans for the kosher commercial kitchen follow several discussions held with Federation and community leaders to explore the needs of the community in regard to food service on campus.

Gerry Gorelick, a Federation Past President who was involved in the discussions, says that the full kosher kitchen fits in with the Federation’s core principles.

“Federation is the ‘big tent’ that serves to unite our diverse Jewish community and beyond,” he says. “Seeing to it that there can be kosher food at any communitywide event is an important example of how that principle gets put into action.”

Additional conversations will continue regarding food service, including guidelines for kashrut throughout the Grass Campus, plans for catering kitchen spaces across the campus, and specifications for the kosher commercial kitchen in the Grass Center.

By creating a full kosher kitchen, the Campus will be able to better support the numerous programs across its space, like Silver Academy, JCC’s Senior Adult Club lunches, and Brenner Family Early Learning Center, and will have the ability to serve needs beyond the campus itself.

The majority of renovations are planned to be complete by June 2023. Construction plans include creation of the fitness center on the 2nd floor of the Grass Center, updates to education spaces for The Silver Academy and Brenner Family Early Learning Center in South and Duncan Halls, addition of an elevator to the McCormick House (the future home of Jewish Family Service), and a new structure to house the Sports Complex behind Duncan Hall, which will include a pool and a ‘gymnatorium’ for athletics and community events.