I had been living near Tel-Aviv for five months, the absorption basket was coming to the end, and so were my savings.
In Moscow, where I graduated from the journalism faculty and had worked in new media for many years, the situation looked bleak, so I couldn’t expect any freelance work.
The state media in Russia was under the Kremlin’s thumb. Major private publications were pressured through their owners, such as the well-known Lenta.ru, which was “beheaded” on the day of my repatriation.
But liberal publications didn’t have my sympathies either: reports and investigations had long been replaced by endless opinion pieces, which could be summarized as saying “everything’s so bad, it’s all Putin’s fault”. And I found this boring, at the very least, and not even true.
I was already planning to bid farewell to the media for good and open a small café by the seaside, but on the way to meet the budding entrepreneurs I heard the first siren in my life – operation “Tzuk Eitan” had begun.
The sign from above was quite clear.
…On my first visit to Israel I was convinced: the wall works! All you need to do is make the request clearly. After repatriation, I realized that if you don’t want too much and aren’t greedy, and only ask for what you really need, then the request will work throughout Israel.
So, last August, I received two gifts from fate: the pregnancy I had wanted and the chance to create a news website about the Jews of Ukraine and the world “from scratch” – Jewishnews.com.ua (which besides everything else unexpectedly returned me to my roots, as I am a Jew born in Ukraine, and my family lives there).
These two events not only filled the year with joy and meaning, but also proved to be connected.
It’s a great thing to put out a newspaper. And it’s frightening, despite all my experience.
It’s not easy to hire people over Skype for a virtual editorial staff of a website that hasn’t opened yet. Especially when this takes is happening in Ukraine, in the midst of a war and a crisis, and the national currency is losing value right before your eyes.
When I interviewed people, I usually said at the end: “If the publishers have the choice to keep financing us or buy a tank, and they choose the tank, I’ll understand them. I don’t have any guarantees, but until then I promise that the work will be pleasant and interesting.”
Startups are like children – success is possible only if there is love and trust. The first provides a basis and support, the second provides the freedom to be independent and grow.
The website was launched in late October. One person was responsible for news, while I took care of the articles and promotion on social networks. Plus a design editor, translators into English and Hebrew and one person responsible for both marketing and management. Then the first columnists came along, who gained subscribers from social networks.
Our news appeared on news feeds, and we were republished in other media, including in Israel.
The amount of work kept increasing, and my belly grew. And it became clear that it was time to let life proceed of its own accord, because I couldn’t hold it back forever – both at work and inside me.
By March the editorial team was finally formed. Over that time several employees had come and gone, some had moved to new positions or found themselves in others. Messages on the editorial chat board didn’t even stop at night. There was even an internal joke – the fictitious column called “What you will never read about on JN”.
And although I forced myself to take leave just three weeks before I gave birth, but kept an eye on the administrator panel until contractions began, I already knew that everyone would cope wonderfully without me, they were all in the right place and took pleasure in their work.
My daughter was born in early April – the first person in our family to be born in Israel for 2,000 years. It will take her a bit longer, but she will also soon become independent and learn to cope without me. But I will always remain a
Jewish mother, and will be glad to be there for her when she needs me.
And likewise for the team at Jewishnews.com.ua.
Thank you, my dear editorial staff: Olya, Simon, Sergei, Dasha, Vanya, Ganna, Igor, Marina, Liba, Sveta, Inna, Peter, Meir, Leonid, Boleslav, Yan and others!
Thank you to the publishers – the United Jewish Community of Ukraine – for support and belief in us.
Thank you to my family and the Almighty!