My name is Rahamim Melamed-Cohen (72). I was born in Jerusalem to a rabbinical family who originated from Persia (Iran). I was raised and educated in a religious-zionist-nationalist atmosphere from kindergarten until Mizrachi’s Teachers Seminary.
In my youth, I was a group leader in Bnei Akiva, Ezra, and in camps for new immigrants.
I served in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) in the religious Nachal unit, as a paratrooper, as a gunner in an artillery unit and as an education officer. I participated in capturing the Sinai in Operation Kadesh in Suez-Sinai War (1956) as well as the Yom Kippur War (1973) and the Sheleg = Shalom to the Galilee War OR the First Lebanese War (1982).
I was awarded B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Hebrew University in Jerusalem in Education, Judaica, Geography and History.
I taught in the Horev School in Jerusalem and then founded the Special Education Department in Michlala Jerusalem, (Jerusalem College for Women) where I was chairman of the department for 25 years.
I set up the Teacher Training Seminar affiliated with Yeshivat Sha’alvim and taught there for 35 years.
My wife Elisheva and I went abroad on shlichut for 4 years to India as principal of Jewish schools and head of youth groups. At the University of Bombay I was appointed Professor for Jewish Studies. I organized summer camps under the auspices of Bnei Akiva, and also centers for learning Hebrew.
Similarly I was a representative of the Jewish Agency for two years in Britain and Western Europe and was appointed head of all the emissaries.
From age 30, I was appointed the supervisor of special education in Jerusalem and set up a network of schools and classes for special education. In 1989 I was appointed the national supervisor/superintendent of school curricula in Israel.
Fifteen years ago I was diagnosed with A.L.S., a degenerative neurological disease affecting motor and muscular functions. Life expectancy for patients with A.L.S. (Lou Gehrig’s disease) is 3-5 years. But thank God I’m alive, creating, and active in the community. These are the most beautiful years of my life.
For the last 11 years, I am totally paralyzed, wheel-chair bound, connected continually to a respirator and fed through an external feeding tube. In this period, I authored 10 books. Recently I’ve been using a special computer with a virtual keyboard and with my eyes’ movements, I am able to do everything that a mouse can do – if not better!
In the past 3 years, after I learned how to use the Photoshop program, my artistic talents burst into the visual area. By slight movements of my eye and blinks of my eyes, I have painted tens of pictures. The pictures on the theme of “Eyes in the Bible” merited an exhibition in the Jerusalem Theater, another in the Beit HaTanach in Tel Aviv and the production of a prestigious high-quality collectors’ album. Thus came an additional Tikkun to my blow.