Books: If I Forget Thee .. .

GOODBYE, COLUMBUS (298 pp.)—Philip Roth—Houghton Mifflin ($3.75).

All but one of the six stories in this collection deal with a problem that has concerned Jews throughout history: Should they or should they not let themselves be assimilated? Most of the Jewish characters in this book have succumbed to the alien and often tempting culture in which they live. Instead of being called Moses or Miriam, children are named Sheila, Kevin, Brenda, Neil. Scythelike noses have been bobbed into gentile unobtrusiveness, Talmudic scholars replaced by star athletes and Socialist singers of

U.S. folk songs. Jewish...

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