'Ofir was present at the birth of my son,' grieving sister of Nova victim says

Shoval Tzarfati gives birth to her baby eight months after her brother was abducted from the Nova music festival during the October 7 massacre and then murdered by Hamas terrorists; Ofir never knew that she was pregnant

Two days before the October 7 massacre, Shoval Tzarfati found out she was pregnant. She could not wait to see her brother Ofir in person to tell him the news. But Ofir never heard about his sister's pregnancy. On October 7, he was murdered at the Nova music festival in Re'im near the border with Gaza where he had been celebrating his birthday and from where he was abducted and later murdered by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
After 55 days IDF forces extracted his remains from Gaza and he was buried in an Israeli cemetery. Last week, Shoval gave birth at the Rambam Health Care Center in Haifa.
"I went to his grave an hour before giving birth and asked him to be with me when I delivered my baby," Shoval says. "I felt his presence at every stage of the birth and after the baby was born. I had his picture with me in the delivery room. The birth went well, compared to my earlier experience," she says. "At one point, the doctor asked me if I was meditating but I said I was calling for Ofir to be with me."
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אופיר צרפתי ז"ל, שובל קוסטנקו צרפתי
אופיר צרפתי ז"ל, שובל קוסטנקו צרפתי
Shoval, Ofir Tzarfati
(Photo: Rambam PR, Courtesy)
When the massacre began, Ofir took control and made sure his friends quickly jumped into cars to get away. Because there was no room left for him, he told them to drive on and that he would get into another car that was leaving.
"He got into the car with Romi Gonen, but they were then stopped by terrorists on the highway. The driver and the passenger sitting next to him were murdered on site and Ofir and Romi were injured and abducted. He was classified as missing for 18 days before we had confirmation of his murder."
Shoval says Ofir had a special bond with his niece, her daughter Romi, who is now 3 years old. "I had had two miscarriages, and he took them badly, so I waited to see a heartbeat before telling him that I was pregnant.
Now Shoval's joy is mixed with sadness. "Its been eight months. I barely experienced this pregnancy. I've been detached. My heart and my thoughts have been elsewhere," she says. "I prepared for childbirth as if it was a mission but there, miraculously, I felt Ofir with me. When I first looked at my son, it was like a valve opened and I could finally breathe and feel the joy. My parents, who have suffered so much, felt the same. We all now accept that this is our lives. It will have sadness but also joy."
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אופיר צרפתי ז"ל
אופיר צרפתי ז"ל
Ofir Tzarfati
(Photo: Courtesy of the family )
Shoval's hospital room is full of Ofir's pictures. His smiling face is looking at her and her new baby boy.
"I keep getting asked if I will name the baby Ofir but I think Ofir is a presence all of his own," she says. "I will tell him about his uncle when he grows. It is not the baby's responsibility to carry him. But we will make sure Ofir and all that he had brought us will not be forgotten."
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