I wake up a little afraid this startlingly cloudless morning. It's the day of the United Jewish Appeal's March For Israel (May 30), and I can almost see the ocean of "Support Israel bonds" T-shirts. Buy, build, believe. The throngs of marchers will present a solid mass, one people, one set of beliefs.
But theirs is not the only Jewish presence in the city.
The last time I stood in front of thousands of people waving Israeli flags and singing Am Yisroel Chai (The Nation Of Israel Lives) was three years ago. That was at Earl Bales Park on Yom Haatzmaut, Israeli Independence Day. There were tens of thousands of them and six of us.
They were celebrating in loud and boisterous revelry. We were demonstrating in silence. They were waving the blue and white Star of David. We were holding our banner, Jewish Women's Committee to End the Occupation. The crowd circled us, spat at us literally and figuratively, called us terrorists, self-hating Jews. Two men tore at our banner violently. One woman said she wished Hitler had finished us off. Would this morning be any different?
When I get to Trinity-Bellwoods Park, the crowd is filing through the archway into the park past the 27 of us who stand in silent vigil. Someone is already holding my favourite placard, "We refuse to be enemies."
The reaction of the marchers is predictable. Mostly they boo, yell out "Shame," call us Hamas terrorists, tell us we are depraved, that we like to see babies being blown up on buses.
A handful of marchers say softly, "Thank you," "Good that you're here." One man walks by with his daughter applauding. We are here for them - and for the others, the groups of teenagers who take the time to read every placard, never saying a word, the mothers who explain to their children what "We refuse to be enemies" means. Jewish people don't all speak with one voice.
A drunk man gets out of his car and yells out to the crowd, "I've got the answer - nuke Israel, then the Arabs will have some peace." I cringe for the sheer hatred and the dread that someone will associate his message with ours.
Ironically, we're standing at what the march organizers call "checkpoint number one," one of the many water and food stops along the way. "Welcome to checkpoint number one," they yell. The military reference is appalling. Israeli checkpoints are not places of welcome for Palestinians.
I beam love into the crowd. These are, after all, my people. As it turns out, I'm glad to stand outside the archway to Trinity-Bellwoods checkpoint number one - and not walk through it.