When animals brought up in a zoo are released, they sometimes do not even know whether they are wolves or deer.
They have to find out who they are, what they are.
It's a great discovery to learn "I am this," and to explore the right way of behavior for one's own kind.
Such is the destiny of a Jewish person who has been estranged.
He may find helpers or he may not.
He may almost instinctively move into his natural habitat, or he may have all kinds of strange resistances that will interfere forever with his normal behavior, so that possibly it can only be corrected in a later generation.
Whatever happens, such a one is at least coming to grips with the problem.
Very frequently, the process is accompanied by tragic mishaps—-finding, losing, finding again.
But basically it is the situation of the person who wakes up and finds out that even though he grew up somewhere in young midwest America, he really belongs to this very old family, with those strange parents, those sometimes lonely, sometimes ugly, brothers and sisters.
He has to get accustomed to this idea, and then find out what to do about it.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From an essay, "Homecoming, p.69, in On Being Free by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz