Not everything in life has to be tied up neatly,"" says the narrator of one of these stories about Jews and Jewish identity. But you'd never guess it from the stories themselves: Plant is a compulsive table-turner, a heavyhandedly ethical putter-to-rights. In one tale, a young Canadian Jew in Israel to volunteer for the Six Day War mischievously pulls out one of the messages left in a crack of the newly-liberated Western Wall: he gets blood poisoning from an infected finger thereafter. A famous Jewish novelist returns to Berlin and gets great satisfaction in spurning his German friends and their ambiguous past. And most of the stories have an underlying preaching going on--mostly about the wrongness of denying or fooling with Jewish identity (e.g., Jews shouldn't change their names). Only one story pretty much escapes the thump of vindication that too patly ties off these ethical-dilemma parables. It's ""Train Ride""--about a Jewish husband taking possession of his daughter who was brought up Gentile by his now-dead Gentile wife--and if Plant were a little less eager, this could have been a good story, (As it is, it's a middling-to-fair one, almost but not quite moving.) Otherwise, however: bland, cluckish work, suitable perhaps for only the most unadventurous religious discussion-groups.