Phoebe Maltz Bovy’s second week-in-review at The Canadian Jewish News

Phoebe’s poodle Bisou, witness to one of the rare traces of Jewishness in the Ronscesvalles neighbourhood of Toronto.

If you’re new to our new senior editor, you can read her introduction, and the first weekly instalment.

Shanah tovah! In honour of the season, maybe, Alberta has officially embraced the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Definition of Antisemitism.

It was curiously announced late on a Friday before a Jewish holiday weekend, but outgoing premier Jason Kenney marked Rosh Hashanah with a video to launch (?) this decision:

Not as an alternative to the IHRA, but as a kind of parallel path, I hereby announce the Unofficial PMB Definition of Antisemitism.This isn’t about hate crimes, but rather things that are a bit hmmm

The idea with the PMB definition—those would be my initials, you see—is not to categorize slights with a whiff of antisemitism up to Hitler-level Jew-hatred. Nor is it to say that because they fall short of that standard, they don’t count. And the goal isn’t to eliminate micro-aggressions from society, as if such a thing were possible, but to get a more complete picture of what antisemitism today consists of, and to have some (virtual) space where Jews can get together and compare notes.

While it’s  not my intention to have this be the theme of every round-up, everything this week fit the bill.


I couldn’t help but wonder: Is the newly elected Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni, a far-right politician in a country where far-right once meant Mussolini, good for the Jews? No less a source than the Jerusalem Post says that Italy’s Jews are not particularly concerned. And yet:

Not to make a tired remark about how as a Jew I only wish I were as good with money as we’re all alleged to be, but I do in fact wish this.


Maroon 5 rock star Adam Levine is allegedly a cad. Not an abuser, but (allegedly) a cheater, as well as a sender of horny direct messages. There are a lot of places you could go with a story like this: that Levine is not the upstanding family man everyone was apparently invested in him being, or that it’s none of anyone’s business, or even that his privacy is being violated as his private messages become a meme.

And yet Cynthia Loyst, a co-host on CTV’s The Social, opted for a different choice: attributing the caddishness to… the fact that he (apparently?) “comes from a lot of money.” Watch for yourself:

Given that unfaithful spouses come from all walks of life, it’s unclear why Levine’s socioeconomic background is relevant here. Might the whole Levine thing enter into it? It’s the only logical explanation according to the PMB Definition of Antisemitism.


There’s some characteristically indecipherable identity-based drama in the young-adult literature community. The best I can tell, one novelist, Kalynn Bayron, apologized for liking a photo on Instagram by another novelist, Nic Stone, in which Stone was in Israel.

Stone isn’t Jewish, but her partner and children are. No particular reason to think Bayron is, either, and not realizing a photo of Israel was a photo of Israel suggests perhaps not, but if it was, like, a muffin somewhere in Israel, I wouldn’t know where the muffin was located, either.

Stone and Bayron are both Black, and both identify as queer, both of which are relevant insofar as the Young Adult literature community considers these categories pertinent forms of marginalization. Does Jewishness count? Given that not even visiting Israel but liking a social media post in which someone visited Israel is apparently grounds for a pile-on in this world, one would have to imagine not. 

Well. PMB says that being mad at someone for clicking like on a photo of Israel, or for having visited Israel, is antisemitism, whether or not the someone in question is Jewish.


And finally, a spot of Canadian literary drama-that-wasn’t, or that wasn’t as hmmm… as it initially seemed:

PMB verdict: a reader may have been confused by Toronto’s suburb situation, but probably not antisemitic.

(The book is You Are Not What We Expected by Sidura Ludwig—originally published in the midst of the nine months of 2020 when The Canadian Jewish News wasn’t in business.) 


Elsewhere, I wrote something about my ambivalent passion for all things shmatte:

I was also invited to write a retrospective of recent history:

Now you can tell Phoebe what you think: pbovy[@]

For the first alerts to future week-in-review columns subscribe to The CJN’s newsletter.