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Ephraim ben Avraham ben Isaac (of Regensburg ; 1110–1175), tosafist, member of the bet din of Regensburg, and the greatest of the paytanim (liturgical poets) of Germany. Among his teachers were Isaac b. Asher ha-Levi and Isaac b. Mordecai of Regensburg. He was held in great esteem by his contemporaries, being referred to as "the great Rabbi Ephraim" and as "Ben Yakir" (an allusion to Jer. 31:20). His youth was spent in France, where he was among the first pupils of Jacob b. Meir Tam (Rabbenu Tam). As a liturgical poet he excels all his German and many of his French contemporaries. Thirty-two of his piyyutim have been preserved. They reflect the severe hardships which the Jews of Germany suffered in the Regensburg massacre of 1137 and the Second Crusade (1146–47). Zunz regarded Ephraim's poems as superior to all other contemporary Hebrew poetry written in Germany. They are distinctive in form and content, and powerful in expression. Ephraim also employed the metric forms of Sephardi poetry and one of his seliḥot is in the Sephardi festival liturgy.


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