This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.
In a mass conversion of sorts, Chad and Libby McJunkin and their 10 children became members of the tribe last Sunday. The formerly Christian Chattanooga, Tennessee family was converted to Orthodox Judaism on June 1 in Brooklyn. The parents, now known as Sholom and Nechama, were also married according to Jewish law the same day.
In a phone conversation with The Times of Israel, the father described his children as “sparkling” and “shining” as they emerged from their ritual immersion in the mikveh. The couple, married for 18 years, has six girls and four boys, ranging from one to 16 years of age.
McJunkin, a carpenter, said it feels wonderful to now be Jewish and embraced by the Orthodox communities of Borough Park and Chattanooga, but he admits that the road to conversion has not been entirely smooth. While avoiding giving a direct answer to a question about how his teenage children were taking to the change, he noted, “There have been ups and downs for all of us.”
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© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.