BLASER, ISAAC B. SOLOMON:
Russian rabbi and educator; born in Wilna about 1840. Educated to be a rabbi, he is recognized as the foremost pupil of Israel Lipkin and the best exponent of his moral teachings and methods of study. Blaser became the rabbi of the Jewish community of St. Petersburg about 1864, and held the position for sixteen years. He left the Russian capital and settled in Kovno, where he still resides as head of the so-called Perushim (men who separate themselves for study) of Kovno. A considerable sum (about 100,000 marks) was donated in aid of the Perushim by Caspar Lachman of Berlin, an ardent admirer of the above-mentioned Lipkin. The income from this endowment being insufficient, Blaser sends out emissaries or "meshullaḥim" to all Orthodox Jews to collect money for these zealous students, to whom the Russian Jewry now looks for its rabbis, just as it formerly looked to the graduates of yeshibot. Blaser, or, as he is familiarly called, "Reb Itzele Peterburger," is known and trusted among Russian Jews everywhere, and the emissaries from Kovno, who frequently visit the United States, are always well received and generously assisted.
Blaser is also identified with another movement, in which he continues the work of his teacher Lipkin. He is the head of the so-called Mussar'nikes ("Moralists"). The Jewish world is not so much interested in the "mussar" movement—which seeks no publicity and no outside financial assistance—as in the Perushim, but the personality and the position ofBlaser have influenced many of the latter to join the Mussar'nikes.
Blaser is the author of "Peri Yiẓḥaḳ" (The Fruit of Isaac), responsa, and various rabbinic researches (Wilna, 1881).
- Oẓar ha-Sifrut, iii. 5-35;
- Keneset Yisrael, 1888, ii. 106, 163;
- Peikes, Eben Israel, New York, 1902.