Who is a Jew? We won’t necessarily know. What do we need to know? Whether ahavat Yisra’el dwells in the soul before me.
It is useful, in practice if not in theory, to accept the notion that we cannot begin to change what we have done, at least not without beseeching God for assistance, for it undermines the idea that repentance is a simple process.
"I’m more cautious now, more wary of the foolishness of 15-year-olds and more determined than ever to teach them the value of good decision-making in the short time we have left before they leave home to start independent journeys of their own."