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Barrie's Jewish community marks beginning of Hanukkah

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Barrie's Jewish community gathered for a whole afternoon of activities on the first Sunday of a bittersweet Hanukkah.

On Sunday, the Am Shalom Congregation in Barrie gathered for the first Sunday Shabbat since Hanukkah started late last week. It's the first Hanukkah season since the war between Israel and Hamas started earlier this Fall.

"We are upset at what's going on in Israel, there's no doubt about that, but we are comforted by the support we've had from our other faith groups and our friends in general in the Barrie community," said the congregation's president Jeff Wellman.

After the Shabbat, the fun moved to Barrie's Bowlerama, where the local youth group gathered for a few hours of friendly competition.

Then, the Am Shalom Congregation hosted a bonfire and BBQ outside the synagogue later in the afternoon.

"Hanukkah is a time of rededication to our Jewish values, and community building goes along with that," said Wellman. "So it's very important that we spend time together as a group and with our families."

Wellman said Barrie Mayor Alex Nuttall and Barrie Police Chief Rich Johnston have been overwhelmingly supportive since the war began in October.

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