If you are receiving this newsletter, you are a supporter of the Jewish Federation and JCC of Greater Harrisburg. With you, we are doing so much for the community and for the Jewish community in particular. Thank you!
I want to share with you more about our work and achievements made thanks to your participation.
Over the past year, we have improved our communication methods and content to provide more information for you to have at your fingertips about programming, activities, announcements, and more. We have the regular Tuesday and Friday emails (if you do not receive them, please let me know- they offer so much information about upcoming programs and more). We have further established our Facebook page and post on it regularly, as well as planning to expand it and segment it for different interests- making it more useful for you; we have increased the use of our Instagram account and are growing our twitter account – great places to follow, learn more, support, and share information. I hope you follow us, like us, share with your friends, and always feel free to contribute to these posts. In addition, we have our good old Community Review that has undergone some changes over the last few months with improved layout and design, and I believe you will enjoy the new content as well.
In this newsletter you will find more information, fun facts, and pictures about and from our community.
I hope you enjoy this newsletter. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any question, comment, concern, or suggestion.
Director of Development, Marketing, and Communications
(717) 236-9555 ext. 3299
Rabbi Kessler enters the 2nd floor kitchen of the Harrisburg JCC. He is greeted by his teenage cooking class, who ask him “What are we making today?” The Rabbi sings back “Potato pancakes!” “Yes”, the chorus shouts back at him.
This is a scene that is typical of Sababa, the newly revamped and fresh-faced version of Hebrew High. Sababa means “Cool” in Arabic and is commonly used by Israelis, and that is the type of atmosphere that new administrator Sally Jo Bronner strives to bring to the school that caters to students 7th through 12th grades on Sundays throughout the year.
“I want the kids to think of Sababa as a fun place to come, be with other Jewish kids, and deepen their Jewish identities,” says Sally Jo. With this goal in mind, Sally Jo has built upon the foundations that were established in Hebrew High for many years by Lillian Rappaport and injected a new look and energy into Sababa. “We have completely new faculty, which includes all of the area pulpit rabbis. The teachers are paid to be here. We have 12 different classes which change each trimester.”
The classes are designed to get students excited about being around Jewish culture. “Some kids’ only participation in Judaism is through Sababa.” This means the work of Sababa is even more crucial and will continue to be more impactful as some learn about who they are only in Sababa. Sally Jo’s approach makes Sababa less like school and more like a cultural club, that includes courses focusing on photography, community planning, and even a spin class. With proper funding, Sally Jo plans to expand the variety of programming to include even more exciting courses. “Kids love arts, crafts, cooking…all the stuff that costs money!”
With a 35% increase in enrollment in just the first trimester, this experimental version of Sababa is proving to be popular and has potential for growth. Sally Jo is proud of her creation, and feels that it is the right fit for this community of young people. “Even with this success, we are trying to make it better. We did a survey asking about how changes are working for them,” Sally Jo explains. “Kids come because they want to come.”
We are grateful for the funding provided by the Lois Lehrman Grass Foundation which enables us to provide this programming to our teens.
Thank you for investing in our community through your donation to our annual campaign. Your support enables us to offer the programs you value and to explore new opportunities to be relevant and engaging to an evolving community. From reading this newsletter, I think you’ll be amazed about all that has been accomplished as a result of your support. Thank you!
With warm wishes,
Your support allows us to continue serving you. There are countless ways you can help. Learn about them here.
Linda Skulsky is often the first JCC employee that new members meet. As Membership Director, she is the person who makes the initial contact with people who are interested in the JCC, provides tours of the building, and helps people find what they are interested in. “On any given day, I’m scheduling tours with people, following up with people who are on trial memberships, and making calls to people who have reached out. Just today, for example, I have a family coming in for a tour.”
Her commitment to lifelong fitness gives her a unique perspective when working with potential members across the spectrum of physical fitness. Linda is committed to diversity in membership and activities stating, “We have student members, regular members, senior members, and more.” Like a collegiate advisor, she gauges the interest and abilities of the individual and gently directs them toward the right fit for them, believing that there’s a place here for everyone. “We started a Pound class a couple months ago. So we’re always looking to do new things.”
Linda attributes most of the membership outreach to word-of-mouth and social media. “Our social media right now is our best asset. People sharing what they are doing and sharing us by word-of-mouth.
In addition to fitness programming, Linda highlights the benefits of belonging to a community that is often right in people’s backyard. “We have people coming in that live a block or two away and they are amazed at the things that are going on here.”
When asked what the total membership count of the JCC is, Linda exclaims, "I don’t sell memberships just to sell them. I sell memberships because I want people to believe in themselves and have fitness as part of their life.”
Did you know Community Review now has themes? Each issue has a cover story or more dedicated to a special topic. If you have material about or desire to write a story related to the theme, please contact us, we’d love to hear it. Click here for the complete list of themes for the upcoming year. We hope you enjoy.