Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg Looks Ahead to New Home

The Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life will be new home for Jewish organizations

The Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg announced today that the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has accepted its offer to purchase the Dixon University Center.

The Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life will be a hub for Jewish life in Harrisburg, centralizing, elevating, and celebrating the services and resources of the region’s Jewish community. In addition to enhancing the quality of Jewish life in Greater Harrisburg through philanthropy, education, social services, arts, culture, health, and wellness, this campus will benefit the community-at-large, regardless of religious affiliation.

Federation Board Chair Abby Smith said she is inspired by what is possible in the Harrisburg Jewish community, and that this campus will be a vehicle for deeper collaboration and revitalization.

“This is an exciting new chapter,” she said. “There is an expression in Hebrew, L’dor V’dor, which means from generation to generation. This isn’t just about more or better programs; we’re creating a galvanizing vision and a home for Jewish Harrisburg for generations to come.” 

The Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life is possible thanks to the generosity of the Alexander Grass Foundation. President of the Foundation Elizabeth Grass Weese said, "My brother, Roger Grass, and I believe the new Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life will stand as the crowning achievement of the lifetime dedication of Alex Grass to Harrisburg and the Jewish community. We share our father's commitment and his vision, and we hope the rest of the community will come together to support this vision and participate and enjoy all that the Campus will offer."

A competitive bidding process was created to sell the Dixon University Center, 2986 N. Second Street in Harrisburg, with its six buildings on more than six acres of land. The campus is located between Second and Front streets.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg is the umbrella organization for the Jewish Community Center (JCC), and this campus will include space for all of its programs and activities, from the Brenner Family Early Learning Center that cares for infants to preschool-age children, to the fitness center. The campus will also provide a new home for Jewish Family Service of Greater Harrisburg and the Silver Academy, Central Pennsylvania’s Jewish day school. The Federation plans to create a senior center serving the entire Harrisburg area community and will rent out office space in one of the buildings. 

Jennifer Ross, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg, said when the Dixon University Center went on the market, she knew it was an incredible opportunity for the Jewish community.

“We are just ecstatic,” she said. “The campus gives us a footprint to serve many more people in our community, and it allows us to better fulfill our respective organizational missions in collaboration with one another.”

The current Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg and Jewish Community Center property is located at 3301 N. Front Street, Harrisburg, which is located just a few blocks north of the Dixon University Center. 

The next step is officially closing on the property in the next few months, after which some buildings will undergo construction to meet the needs of the new campus. The goal is to begin operating on the new campus by the fall of 2022.