She stands straight and proud – all 4 foot 11 inches of her – in the pink-laced trainers she chose in anticipation of being on her feet to protest.
The white home-made poster placard she is holding reads: “I escaped the Nazis once. You will not defeat me now.”
She is Marianne Rubin, an 89-year-old refugee from Nazi Germany, who felt compelled to stand on the street with her daughter, to make a stand in the wake of the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, chanting: “Jews will not replace us.”
The renewed confidence of the extreme right, in this country, in the United States, and elsewhere, is real.
They have been emboldened by the immigrant-hating and Islamophobic rhetoric of the pro-Brexit camp, the Trump campaign, and much deeper and older societal fissures.
The Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville was especially chilling for the numbers it brought out, the injuries it caused, the death of counter-protestor Heather Heyer, and President Trump’s first equivocal and then outright hate-enabling responses.
But the systems and structures those hate groups came to express are woven deeply into the fabric of our nations.
Empire and colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, and anti-Semitism have always been with us.
Jewish communities, like Marianne Rubin’s example, are responding. As one speaker put it in a Jewish solidarity rally after Charlottesville: “We cannot dismantle racism and xenophobia, without dismantling anti-Semitism.”
This is both a time to show up for ourselves, and a time to show up for others – who are marginalised and silenced and oppressed by the extreme right’s other interlinked bigotries.
These past few months, I have vacillated between despair and fear, between anger and revolt, thinking a lot about that famous line folk musician Woody Guthrie inscribed on his guitar in 1941: “This machine kills fascists.”
But I am also writing this article from Liberal Judaism’s Kadimah summer camp, where 120 Jewish children, aged from eight to 15, and 30 Jewish youth movement leaders, ages 17 to 24, are gathered to celebrate and pray together, to learn Torah and pursue justice together – in the rural West Country.
Progressive Judaism itself is a symbol of what we rebuilt out of oppressive past destruction.
This is not a time to wait and see. Like Marianne Rubin, it’s a time to show up for ourselves and for others.