An old friend came in the other day and told me he was thinking of converting. “To what?” I asked. “Judaism,” he said. I remembered the strange conversation we had three or four years earlier: he had called one night to apologize for having described me once to a friend of his as “a dirty Jew”; it had been weighing on his conscience; he wanted to let me know he was sorry.

I didn’t know what to say then, nor how to respond to his latest news. “The people I like and respect the most,” he said, “except when I’m hating them, are all Jewish.”