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Moses Ibn Ezra

(c. 1055 - 1135)

Moses Ibn Ezra was born in Granada and appears to have held a position of prominence. His name was qualified by the Arabic title, "Head of the police," or perhaps "His excellency." He was close friends with Judah Ha'Levi and invited his famous colleague to come to Granada. Ibn Ezra's family dispersed after Granada was destroyed by the Almoravides in 1090. He lived the remaining years of his life in Christian Spain.

Ibn Ezra is best known for his substantial body of penitential prayers. His work encourages the reader to look into himself and to discover the absurdity of pursuing worldly aspirations and achievements. Divine judgment is inevitable, and therefore, hope can be found in penance and contrition.

Sources: This material was originally published in Sparks! - an e-zine for Jewish families