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All Living Souls - An ALS Song

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Last Updated: November 14th, 2006

Click the play button to your right to listen to this inspirational song inspired by Dr. Rahamim Melamed-Cohen who has lived with ALS for 12 years. The music was created by Rahamim's nephew David Koren, and submitted to ALSforums by email.

The song is composed and sung by Rahamim's nephew, David Koren. David wrote to ALSforums to share this song in hopes that the song, the lyrics, and the story about his Uncle would inspire others living with ALS.

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About the Singer/Composer, David Koren

Table of Contents

All Living Souls was inspired by the nephew of Rahamim Melamed, David Koren. David was inspired by his Uncle's fight with ALS.

David wrote to ALSforums with the following:

“My uncle - Rahamm Melamed suffers from ALS for over 10 years.”

“His condition now is that he can only move his eyes, this is how he communicates.”

“He has written a number of books - one of them is a book of poems.”

“He has asked a couple of people - including me - to compose a tune to his songs.”

“The goal is to publish a music album of his songs.”

“Attached is a song that i think a lot of people with ALS can sympathize with.”

“Maybe you'll want to do something with it to bring this disease to the public's attention.”

“The song is really a draft as I am not a great singer, only a composer, but I hope you like it.”

We appreciate the submission and are more than happy to post this song and information about his Uncle.

If you like the song please take a moment to post some comments for David Koren, and his Uncle.

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All Living Souls: Song Lyrics

Verse 1:
How do you feel without touching
Pleading your way through harsh rock
Keeping the head out the sinking quicksand
Scenting the thorns of the rose

How do you touch without sorrow
Taking the air with no breath
Flowing away in the sea of disaster
Not letting yourself just to drown
In swamps of despair

Chorus 1:
But it's so true
You're stronger then ever
Touching your heart
Deep in your soul

Taking tomorrow
In chaos and sorrow
Showing the way for us all

Striving in pain
Seizing the moment
Sucking the marrow
Of each drop of life

Sailing beyond
Where sinking suns glow
With All Living Souls

Verse 2:
How do your eyes make your stylus
The blood from your heart is your ink
Trying to write to the play of life
Contribute your verse that's distinct

How do you chant without crying
The tragedy of your life
Queries are harsh and are deeply burning
Asking yourself every night
If it's worth the price

Chorus 2:
But life is a gift
No matter the torture
The spirit will win
The flesh will just soap

Bells now are ringing
Don't weep but keep singing
Encourage your friends in your war

Whatever there is
Beyond the dark mountains
The brighter horizon
Is there just to shine

Staying forever
Bringing together
All Living Souls

Song Inspired By Dr. Rahamim Melamed-Cohen

Excerpt and Photos From: AISH.COM

Dr. Rahamim Melamed-Cohen

At the age of 57, he had everything going for him. He was handsome, athletic, happily married, the father of six children, and successful in his career. Dr. Rahamim Melamed-Cohen, with a Ph.D. in Special Education, held a leading position in Israel's Ministry of Education, served as Head of the Education Dept. in a Jerusalem college, and pioneered Special Education programs throughout Israel.

Then one day, he felt a weakness in his left shoulder. Soon the weakness spread down his arm to his fingers. When he made Kiddush on Shabbat night, the Kiddush cup shook and the wine spilled.

He and his wife Elisheva made the rounds of neurologists, until one doctor gave them the dread diagnosis: ALS, also known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease."

The doctor spelled out for them the entire course of the disease: first his limbs would become paralyzed, to be followed by the muscles of his neck, esophagus, and tongue. "The day will come," he told Rahamim, "when a fly will land on your nose and you won't be able to brush it off. You will become dependent on other people for everything." And in the final stage, his lungs would stop working. "You have three to five years to live."

That was 12 years ago. Three of the doctors who attended on him have since died, but Rahamim Melamed-Cohen, while completely paralyzed, is still going strong. Since the onset of his illness, he has written seven books, the latest by means of a computer that types by his eye movements. Until a year ago, when he could still speak clearly, he gave lectures on educational methodology to students in his living room. He maintains a voluminous email correspondence with readers who look to him for encouragement and wisdom. He prays thrice daily and attends synagogue every Shabbat. And he and his wife go out regularly, to the theater, to weddings, and to restaurants, although Rahamim himself no longer eats except through a feeding tube to his stomach. As Elisheva explains, "Although he doesn't eat, he sits with us." His company is obviously worth the effort.

From the beginning, Rahamim decided to stay one step ahead of the disease. Anticipating the paralysis of his legs, he installed an elevator to carry him up to his second-floor apartment. When one hand was still good enough to press the buttons on his special wheelchair, he had a control mechanism installed on the back of the wheelchair for the stage when he would not be able to drive it himself. While he could still speak clearly, he researched and located the ingenious American-made computer that is now his principal means of communication.


Dr. Rahamim Melamed-Cohen

Yet, with all his preparations, he did not prepare for the inevitable moment that strikes all ALS sufferers: the final moment when the paralysis creeps into the lungs. One day, six and a half years ago, Elisheva heard her husband straining to breathe. She called an ambulance. The medics arrived at the same moment that Rahamim's breathing stopped. They resuscitated him and rushed him to the hospital. There Elisheva made the decision to hook her husband up to a respirator rather than let him die.

"Everything would have been different in one minute," Elisheva recalls, "if I hadn't called the ambulance. And there was a doctor in the emergency room who said to me, 'Why did you resuscitate him?' This was very terrible to hear."

"If they had let me die, I would have missed the best and most important years of my life."

When he regained consciousness, Rahamim himself was not sure that being kept alive by a respirator was the best decision. Now, however, he asserts, "If they had let me die, I would have missed the best and most important years of my life."

His daily struggle with survival has taught him a vital lesson about the vast, untapped potential inherent in every person. "Before, I didn't believe that I have such inner strength. I learned that every human being has sparks that he can transform into a burning flame."

Although he had written articles and lectured extensively before his illness, this new phase of his life has opened up wellsprings of creativity. Since the onset of his illness, he has written seven books: two about education; two on Jewish subjects; one book of personal anecdotes; one book of poetry; and Choose Life, a collection of his musings about life and advice to the chronically ill.

Belief & Determination

Dr. Melamed-Cohen believes that many other people suffering from terminal illness or serious disability give up due to three reasons:

  1. They behave according to societal expectations.
  2. In our times, many people are spoiled.
  3. Today's education doesn't teach people to stand up to challenges.

While many advocates of euthanasia admit that Dr. Melamed-Cohen's life on life-support systems is definitely worth sustaining, they claim that he is an exception. Dr. Melemed-Cohen himself disagrees. "Maybe I am special, but the principles can be applied to other people as well. Not everyone has to produce so much, but everyone can fulfill his life in his own way. Rather than always talking about 'death with honor,' why not put the same effort into sustaining 'life with honor'? They can do this by encouraging patients and by bringing them volunteers to help them. Instead of prodding them to finish their lives, prod them to live their lives."

At 68, Rahamim's daily schedule would daunt many healthy people his age. He starts out his day by praying Shacharit, the morning service. His friend Yitzchak comes daily to put tefillin on him. Then he and Yitzchak learn Torah for an hour.

Then he works: writing his books, which sometimes entail considerable research, either on the internet or in the comprehensive Judaic library he has on disc; answering his email correspondence (he receives on average ten letters a day); and doing artwork on computer.

Read the rest of the article (about 5 pages) at the website, the article titled The Hero Within.

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