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Raaya Aharek, mother of Omri Aharek

Mother: Raaya Aharek

Son: Omri Aharek, z”l, aged 26

Family: Omri, the eldest son of Raaya and Tsefania Aharek, brother to Gal, 24, and sister Meital, 20

Moments of Terror: Omri went to the Nova party with two good friends and their girlfriends. My last conversation with him was on Friday at 6:30 PM. I asked him to take care of himself and rest before the journey, wished him a happy holiday, and we agreed to talk when he returned from the party. When he finished the call, he said, "Mom, happy holiday, and I love you." At 7:10 AM, I heard the news and spoke with the mother of one of his friends - the kids called her and informed her that they were leaving the party because missiles had started, and they had police escorting them out. At 7:25, Omri filmed a video of them in the car as they left the area.

We tried to call him, but there was no answer; we didn't know what was happening with him. On Saturday night, we reported him missing and provided identification details. Until Wednesday, we searched for him - we went to all the hospitals in the south, walked among the wounded to try to identify him, and left his picture everywhere.

On Wednesday afternoon, the news came to us at home. It's every parent's nightmare - endless self-blame, how did I not help him? What did he feel in his final moments? What did he see? A sharp pain that tears the soul and turns you into half a person. And the hole in the heart just keeps growing.

The Person Behind the Story: Omri loved life, loved to smile, and believed that one should enjoy every moment and live as if there were no tomorrow. He had a sensitive soul and accepted everyone as they were. Omri loved the guitar and played it constantly, everywhere. He left behind a lot of written words, full of emotion, love, and compassion for others. He wrote, played, and sang, and even managed to fulfill his dream and record his song. He loved his friends dearly. As the "glue" of all the friends, he made sure they met and enjoyed each other's company - every time he returned home for the weekend, friends would come to play music. Omri loved football and the sea, and he could bounce a ball on the sand for hours. Lately, he started playing beach volleyball.

My Message: To love others, to enjoy every day and every hour, to smile and rejoice - that was Omri. And we were fortunate to love this child.

Project in Memory of Omri: In early January, a jam session was held in his memory. We opened an Instagram page called OMRIKEY, where updates on future activities in his memory will be posted. In addition, we started a project to establish a beach volleyball court in his name.

Our Last Embrace: We parted on Saturday afternoon of Sukkot with a hug, thinking we’d see each other at Simchat Torah.

Raaya Aharek, mother of Omri Aharek

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