Spektor of Kovno
Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Spektor (1817–96) was a revered sage and spokesman for world Jewry.
Born in Rosh, Lithuania, and pronounced an ilui at the age of eight, he was named spiritual leader of Sabelin at 20. With a growing reputation for remarkable erudition, he went on to become rabbi of Baresa, Nishvez, and, in 1851, the larger city of Novohrodak.
In 1864, he was named rabbi of Kovno, Russia, a major Jewish community. Jews throughout the entire world turned to him for halakhic guidance. The Kovner Rav’s writings were highly influential—on such issues as the observance of shmetta (sabbatical year) laws in the fledgling settlements of what was then Palestine and resolution of the tragic plight of agunot.
After his death in 1896, RIETS was named in his memory.