Six short stories about being Jewish--or about family relationships which, in turn, are about being Jewish. In the first, an Orthodox rabbi's family moves to a town where there are no other Jews. ""We are diamonds in a mine of zircons,"" says the father--and then, about his son's hoody non-Jewish friends, ""You lie down with dogs, you rise with fleas."" And however Ruby refines the father-son differences, she proves the father right, for no sooner does Micah take up with the non-Jews than he's involved in malicious mischief that almost costs a man's life. In another story, Lauren dates a non-Jew against her parents' wishes, then learns her lesson--deciding at the synagogue on Yom Kippur that there are too many differences between her and this goy who gets offensively drunk at her cousin's wedding, has TV in the living room, and, with grandparents from Montana, doesn't know the family warmth and ""untold, untolled generations"" that she has behind her. One story is told by a minimally-brain-damaged teenager (though it reads no differently from countless other first-person juveniles) whose piety contrasts with the crudeness of her Texas oilman father and her mother's worldly dismissal of tradition. In the last story, and the only one with the resonance of non-didactic fiction, teenage Rachel first feels for her great-grandmother when the family gathers after the old woman's death. On an ecumenical note, a Catholic priest in jeans helps Jewish Bobby cope with a stupefying lust for his young English teacher; and, for a twist, when a black Jewish family invades Barry's synagogue, and the teenage daughter gives the stunned youth group a heated lecture on black Hebrews, it's her father who forbids her dating Barry. But the overall impression is of object lessons in the wisdom of the fathers.