CEO Letter 10.8.21

By Jenn Ross

Since the pandemic began, I have made it a practice to wish people a year of health regardless of their age. This pandemic has spotlighted health concerns 24/7, particularly since the surge with the Delta variant. It is even more critical than ever to get accurate information. I rely on my medical professionals, our Medical Advisory Team, and when making decisions in keeping my family and community members safe.

It is important to monitor overall health while staying safe from COVID.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. According to, “1 in 40 Ashkenazi Jews – men and women – carries a BRCA gene mutation, nearly 10 times the rate of the general population, making Jewish families significantly more susceptible to hereditary breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Recent studies show that Sephardic Jews may also be genetically predisposed to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.” Sharsheret will be promoting numerous online and regional programs throughout October. Locally, Feel Your Boobies Foundation focuses on educating women under 40 about getting to know their bodies and they host ongoing events in this region. Learn more at

My Awareness in Action cohort of JCC CEOs has been exploring the Blue Dove Foundation’s resources on Mental Health Tashlich. Blue Dove is working towards advancing conversations in the Jewish Community about mental illness and substance abuse, eradicating shame and educating the community.  Their site provides a wealth of information:

Jewish Family Service of Greater Harrisburg is a local gem addressing mental health.  My former colleague and good friend Barry Stein and I worked together on numerous initiatives that have the same goals as the Blue Dove Foundation. I hope you will join me in attending JFS’ virtual special event honoring Barry at 5pm on Sunday, October 10, where he will offer lessons learned in his journey to overcome COVID-19.  Information about this program and the great work continuing under my new colleague and friend Steven Schauder’s leadership can be found at

I also encourage you to save the date, 7pm on Wednesday, November 3 to attend this year’s virtual JAAM (Joint Annual Agency Meeting) to learn about the health, welfare, and good works of our Harrisburg-based Jewish agencies. The JAAM is an opportunity to learn about each organization’s accomplishments and recognize our outstanding staff, volunteers, and award winners.

I look forward to seeing you at the JCC or online soon. I can be reached at 717-236-9555 x3104 or  Wishing you much health and happiness.