- What is the Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life?
The Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life is a major development for the Jewish community of Harrisburg – and the Harrisburg community at large. The 6.4 acre property will soon become THE centralized hub for Jewish life, providing space for a variety of programs and organizations, room to meet and convene, and a safe and nurturing space for our community to learn, celebrate, and connect. The campus 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 following organizations, programs, and services will be located here:
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 regardless of religious affiliation
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
The Campus is located at 2986 N. 2nd Street in Harrisburg, PA (formerly Dixon University), a few blocks south of the current Jewish Federation/JCC facility. The property is 6.42 acres, 135,000 square feet, and comprises six buildings.
- Who was Alexander Grass?
In 1999, Alexander Grass z’l said: “We didn’t have much when I was growing up. As I became successful, it became important for me to give something back to the community.”
Alex Grass was involved in extensive philanthropic activities and invested a great deal of his life in leadership roles of civic and educational institutions in the United States and in Israel. He was appointed by the Prime Minister of Israel to be Chairman of the Jewish Agency, the most significant non-governmental agency in Israel, serving from 1999 to 2003. Alex Grass chaired the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, from which he received an honorary doctorate in 2000. He was also National Chairman of the United Jewish Appeal and a past president of the Israel Education Fund. In Harrisburg, he served as President of the United Jewish Community.
- When will the Federation, JCC, and other organizations move to the Campus?
The Federation plans to move staff and programs throughout summer 2023, with the Brenner Family Early Learning Center and The Silver Academy beginning the new school year on the campus this Fall. We have already begun to host special events on campus when possible in order to introduce community members to the campus. The fitness center is slated to be completed this summer, and we’re aiming for a community grand opening this Fall. Jewish Family Service and the Jewish Community Foundation of Central PA are also expected to join us on the campus in 2023
- What will each of the buildings be used for?
Many of the buildings will be multi-purpose. Current plans include:
• Grass Center (admin building) – fitness center, Federation and
Foundation staff offices, and event space
• South Hall – Silver Academy classrooms/offices
• Richards Hall – expanded senior programming and additional
• Duncan Hall – Brenner Family Early Learning Center, with
additional structure to house future Sports complex
• McCormick House – Jewish Family Service offices
• Hughes Hall – home to tenant organizations
- How are we paying for the Campus?
The purchase of the Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Alexander Grass Foundation. To build the Grass Campus into our community’s “forever home” with a Kosher commercial kitchen, gymatorium, pool, security infrastructure, and more, we’ll secure $10M in additional funding through our multiyear Comprehensive Campaign with gifts from community members and grant organizations and through the sale of our current facility. Learn more at www.grasscampus.org/support.
- How much parking will be available?
The Campus has 100+ parking spaces in an underground garage and there are above-ground parking lots behind what are currently Hughes Hall and Duncan Hall. The lot between the Grass Center (admin building) and Richards Hall will be fully reserved for handicap parking
- What security measures will be in place on campus?
We are currently working with a renowned group of security professionals to complete a full security assessment, which will be put in motion before we step foot on the campus. Some security measures will be visible, while others will be shared with our leadership team so that we know the campus is safe. Our team of professionals are working with local, state, and federal law enforcement to ensure our plans are consistent with best practices. We’ve allocated 15% of our campaign funds toward security and infrastructure, and our safety will be bolstered by our participation in JFNA and SCN’s LiveSecure campaign.
- Will there be a Kosher kitchen on campus?
Yes! A Kosher commercial kitchen will be built as an extension of the administrative building and will give us the ability to welcome and serve Jews of all backgrounds both on and beyond our campus. More details to come on Kashrut policies throughout the campus.
- Will we need to make upgrades to the Campus before we move in?
Yes. We are currently in the process of renovating spaces across the campus to meet the needs of the agencies and the community. The property has been well-maintained and there are no structural issues.
- Will there be space to rent for events and meetings?
Yes. We are looking forward to making both the indoor and outdoor spaces available for celebrations, events, and meetings. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about space rentals for your event!
- Will the new Campus have a fitness center?
Yes. Our new fitness center will be a high-end facility, with state of-the-art equipment overlooking the Susquehanna River and multiple fitness studios to accommodate your favorite classes.
- Will there be a basketball court/gym at the Campus?
Yes. The gym will be a PIAA-sized regulation basketball court. This is the most significant renovation on the Campus, and will come at a later construction phase
- Are there concerns that part of the Campus is in a flood zone?
No – the Dixon University Center has not been impacted by flooding in any of their finished, aboveground spaces. In fact, the Silver Academy students moved to the Dixon University Center for several months when the JCC was flooded in 2011.
- What is the plan for the current Federation/JCC building?
The Federation will be looking for a buyer for our current facility, and we are looking at a lease-back arrangement with any buyer of the current building to ensure continuous service of the gym/pool for our members.
- Will there be pickleball at the Campus?
Yes! The gymnasium/basketball court can be converted to 4 pickleball courts.
- Will there be a pool at the Campus?
Yes! Our new plans include a swimming pool which will be used for swimming laps, physical therapy, aquatics classes, and swimming lessons (but will not be a competition pool).
- Will there be an auditorium at the Campus?
Yes. The new gymnasium will have the ability to be converted to an auditorium space with a stage and plenty of seating for large events
- Have other communities successfully moved to a Campus?
Yes. There are many examples of similar Jewish life campuses across the country, from the Dell Jewish Community Campus (Shalom Austin) in Austin, TX to the Millstone Campus in St. Louis, MO. We have worked with our parent organizations – JCCA and JFNA – to learn about these other campus examples and connect with both their professional and lay leaders. We will continue to look to and learn from other communities as we develop plans for our new Campus
- If you sell the JCC, will there be a time when people have no place to go as the Campus is under construction?
While the 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. An arrangement will be made with any buyer that we stay at the JCC until we are ready to move to the Campus.
- How can a community member volunteer to help?
Please contact GrassCampus@jewishfedhbg.org for more information on how to volunteer to help!
- How can I stay up to date on what is happening with the Campus?
• Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @grasscampushbg
• Sign up for email updates at
• Learn more at www.grasscampus.org