No be-wigged handmaiden is this reluctant blue-jeaned rebbetsin, but Rachel's wry distance from her husband Seymour's increasingly conservative congregation somehow seems to balance the rabbi's underlying flak for melodrama and the ""tragic pose"" he occasionally indulges in. Still, Seymour is a good, conscientious leader--perhaps too much so--for while the women mutter about Rachel's laxness in ritual observances and her aloofness, the congregation is also disturbed by Seymour's embarrassing concern with the cause of social justice. The fashionable brotherhood of the Sixties is no longer in, and Seymour's re-appointment is far from certain. Rachel and Seymour, observed with love and concern by their teenage son, are in for stormy weather: Seymour is having an affair with a cool, sexy member of the congregation; and Rachel, floundering in her attempts to cope with not only marriage but an art career, pursues an old flame and is approached hopefully by Seymour's friend, the hearty Episcopalian minister. But with gallivanting humor, vigorous rages, and thrilling re-matches, the family weathers through--in spite of Seymour's inevitable ouster. A good-humored, high-spirited, haimische novel involving some immensely likable people, types and odd-balls one might spot in any denomination.