By Abby Smith, Chair of the Board of Directors, Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg
By now, I’m sure that you’ve heard the news about our offer being accepted to purchase the Dixon University Center, which will be our community’s future home as the Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life.
The Grass Campus creates a hub for Jewish life in the greater Harrisburg region and will serve the community at-large, regardless of religious affiliation. This property will house the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg and the JCC, the Silver Academy - Central PA’s Jewish Day School, and Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Greater Harrisburg. The Campus will provide the following:
- Education: Brenner Family Early Learning Center (infant-PreK), Silver Academy (grades PreK-8), and Hebrew High School (grades 8-12), as well as educational programming for all ages
- Senior Services: Senior Center to serve seniors across the Harrisburg area
- Health & Wellness: High-end fitness center, Sports Center complete with a basketball court, and wellness programming
- Social services: Counseling and therapy, food assistance, and adoption services
- Community Programs: Arts & culture, interfaith, social justice, and more
Just a few blocks south of the current Jewish Federation/JCC facility, the property sits right on Front Street overlooking the Susquehanna River and is 6.42 acres, 135,000 square feet, and comprises six buildings.
We expect to close on the purchase at the beginning of 2022, and as soon as we do, some organizations will begin to move onto the Grass Campus, while others will need to wait until certain construction projects are complete. While the Grass Campus is undergoing renovations, our current facility will be fully open and running so that we can continue to offer all of our programs and activities.
As you can imagine, it took quite a lot of work to get us to this point, and several thank yous are in order: First and foremost, I want to thank the Alexander Grass Foundation, which provided the funding that makes this project possible. Second, I want to thank all of the people who have been volunteering behind the scenes (though the work has only just begun!). Last but not least, I want to thank all of you for the outpouring of support. From your phone calls to your social media posts, it’s wonderful to see how many people are energized by this big move for our community.
We want everyone to feel the excitement of the Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life, and I look forward to sharing information with you in upcoming emails, on the Federation’s website, in the Community Review, at town hall meetings, and more. There will also be plenty of opportunities to volunteer and get involved. Stay tuned!