This is, I think, the smallest item in my library. In 1938 W. A. and A. C. Churchman issued a set of cigarette cards, entitled ‘In Town Tonight’ with a series of London personalities. Rev. Louis Shaposnick (1909 – 1982) was probably the only rabbi to ever be depicted on a cigarette card. Here he is with his shophar and silk tallis, a young man. The National Portrait Gallery also includes this image in their collection.
Louis Shaposnick was the only son of the learned but controversial and eccentric Rabbi Joseph Shapotsnick. You can read about him here. He was educated at Davenant Grammar School and Jews College. He was the minister of the Great Garden Street Synagogue, rather confusingly in Greatorex Street (it had been renamed in the 1930s), from 1941 to 1982, so he actually had not yet started that appointment when the portrait was done. He was known as a great Talmudist and brilliant speaker.
The Great Garden Street Synagogue was one of the largest and most important constituents of the Federation of Synagogues. The Federation had its offices there and it is also remembered for its Kosher Luncheon Club – one of the few places to find a kosher meal in the East End of London as the Jewish community of the East End of London diminished. During its heyday, Rev. Louis Shaposnick was minister and Rev. Harry Binstock was the chazzan. By the late 1990s its congregation had shrank and it closed.
After Rev. Shaposnick died, this plaque was erected in the Great Garden Street Synagogue. It has now been placed in the Nelson Street Synagogue: