SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Amapedia

Amapedia was a wiki run by the retailer Amazon.com, that existed from January 2007 to June 2010, where users could edit articles about Amazon's products. Anyone with an account on Amazon.com could edit the contents of Amapedia. The amapedia.com domain name was registered in 2005. Jonah Cohen, a programmer who worked on the project in the summers of 2005 and 2006, described it as a "Wikipedia-inspired product website" in his resume, said it was developed with PHP and PostgreSQL; the wiki was launched in mid-2006 as "ProductWiki" renamed Amapedia in early 2007. After Amapedia's closing, an Amazon.com page still referred to the wiki as "ProductWiki". Amapedia was unrelated to the website productwiki.com. Individual product pages on Amazon.com contained the text, "Be the first person to add an article about this item at Amapedia.com" if no article about the product existed. Editing was done using a WYSIWYG interface. There was a separate table editor. Amazon retains the copyright to the content of the site and licensed the compilation for personal use only.

In February 2007, a senior editor at Business 2.0 said "The Amapedia appears stillborn, as Amazon users stick with what they're used to: individual, rather than collaborative, product reviews."Even by Spring 2010, the logo for the site, on every page, still included the word "beta", with the copyright message indicating "2005 - 2007", making the project appear to be on hold. In June 2010, the site became inoperable, with the home page displaying the site logo and the words "Amapedia is not available at this time". By several months the site was no longer accessible at all. Amapedia

Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor

Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor or Isaac Elhanan Spector was a Russian rabbi and Talmudic sage of the 19th century. Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor was born in Рось, Belarus part of the Grodno Governorate of the Russian Empire, his father, Israel Issar, was rabbi of Yitzchak Elchanan's first teacher. His father had a leaning toward Hasidism. Yitzchak Elchanan made remarkable progress in his Talmudical studies, was soon famous as an illui. At the age of thirteen he married, settled with his wife's parents in Vilkovisk, where he remained for six years, he was for a short time the pupil of Elijah Schick, he studied under Benjamin Diskin, rabbi of Vilkovisk, much impressed by his agreeable manners and great ability, accepted him as a pupil and as the fellow student of his son Joshua Leib Diskin, afterward rabbi of Brisk. Spektor received his semikhah from R. Isaac Ḥaber of Tiktin; the 300 rubles which his wife had brought him as dowry were lost through the bankruptcy of his debtor. Being unable to rely any longer on his father-in-law for support, Spector became rabbi in 1837 of the small adjacent town of Sabelin, with a weekly salary of five Polish gulden.

He remained there in great poverty for about two years, when he went to Karlin and introduced himself to R. Jacob of that town considered one of the foremost rabbis of Russia. Jacob was so favorably impressed by the extensive learning and the carefulness of the young man that he recommended him to the first community desiring a rabbi, that of Baresa, where the salary was one ruble a week. Spektor entered upon his new charge in 1839, made rapid progress. A dispute which he had with Rabbi Isaac of Shavel concerning the formula of a document relating to divorce ended when Isaac, much older and better known than Spektor, acknowledged Spektor to be in the right. In 1846, Spektor was chosen as rabbi of Nishvez, Minsk Governorate, but the community of Baresa was unwilling to let him go, he was obliged to leave the town at night; the salary of his new position, four rubles a week, was a munificent one for those days. After he had become known, his popularity was such that when he decided to accept the rabbinate of Novohrodok, whose community had exonerated him of a false charge made against him by an informer of Nishvez, the people of the latter town wished to restrain him.

He went to Novohrodok in May, 1851, remained there until the same month in 1864, when he was appointed chief rabbi of Kovno, which he occupied until his death. Spektor was an indefatigable worker, in the last forty years of his life, when he was becoming more recognized as the foremost rabbinical authority in Russia, he maintained a large correspondence with rabbis, communities and representative men in many parts of the world, who sought his advice and instruction on all conceivable subjects relating to Jews and Judaism, he early began to take an interest in general Jewish affairs, his sound reasoning, his liberal views, his love of peace combined to establish him as one of the great leaders of Russian Jewry. In 1857 he was the youngest member of a committee of rabbis chosen to regulate the management of the Volozhin yeshiva. Ten years he settled a quarrel which threatened to ruin the Mir Yeshiva. In 1868, he stood at the head of a committee to help the poor during a drought which produced a famine, he allowed as a temporary measure the use of peas and beans in the Passover of that year.

In 1875, he decided against the use of the Corfu Citron as Etrog, because of the exorbitant price to which they had risen. In 1879 he arranged, through Prof. A. Harkavy, his former pupil, that three rabbis, Reuben of Dünaburg, Lipa Boslansky of Mir, Elijah Eliezer Grodzenski of Vilna, should be added to the official rabbinical commission, which had hitherto consisted of men of affairs and secular scholars. Together with Yisrael Salanter, he bravely fought the harsh decrees of the Russian government and was active in confronting the numerous issues affecting Russian Jewry. Twice Spektor visited St. Petersburg to take part in the conferences held there to consider the situation of the Jews after the riots of 1881. During his second visit, in the summer of 1882, Kovno was destroyed by fire, Spektor collected in the capital a large sum for those, ruined by the conflagration, he succeeded in his opposition to the proposed establishment of a new rabbinical school on the plan of those in Vilna and Zhitomir, but he failed in his attempt to induce the government to recognize as the real head of the Jewish communities the synagogue rabbi instead of the government rabbi, in reality only a civil functionary and a layman.

In 1889, Spektor was elected an honorary member of the Society for the Promotion of Culture Among the Jews of Russia. His efforts to save the Volozhin yeshiva from being closed by the government proved unsuccessful, but his sponsorship of the institution known as "Kovnoer Perushim" assisted to provide a substitute, his other varied activities included participation in the Kovno kollel and membership of the Hovevei Zion movement. He corresponded with the leading rabbis of western Europe, was the anonymous friend who induced Samson Raphael Hirsch to write Ueber die Beziehung des Talmuds zum Judenthum (an 1884 defense of Talmudic literatu