Rabbi Moshe Avigdor Amiel was born in Porozowo, near Vilna in 1883. He was educated at the Telz Yeshiva, and studied in Vilna with Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik and Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinski. He was one of the first Rabbis to join the Zionist Mizrachi Movement. Rabbi Amiel was elected Chief Rabbi of Antwerp, in Belgium, in 1920 and Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv in 1936. He was a renowned preacher, and his sermons, entitled El-Ami, were reprinted several times. He died in 1946.
This edition, in English, was translated by the young Rabbi Louis Isaac Rabinowitz (1906-1984). He was born in Edinburgh. His father, Rabbi Jacob Rabinowitz, had emigrated to Scotland where he was the Rabbi of the Russian and Polish Jews in Edinburgh. During the First World War he moved to London and became the Rabbi of the Montague Road Beth Hamedrash in Hackney.
Rabbi Louis Rabinowitz, who had not yet obtained his doctorate when this book was published, was Rabbi of various London Synagogues and was elected chief Rabbi of South Africa in 1945. He emigrated to Israel in 1961.
The book was published by Moshe Leib Cailingold (pronounced Tzailingold), the bookseller and publisher. His monogram, printed under the words ‘For the High Festivals Period.’ reads MLC in English and Mem Lamed Tzadik in Hebrew.
Moshe Leib Cailingold’s father’s book selling business was in Warsaw, and he had come to London and established the London branch in about 1920. The story of the Cailingold bookshop is told by Paul Shaviv on the Spitalfields Life website here.
The sermons in this book are for the ‘High Holidays’ period, and the selection that I have chosen to scan is for the weekly Torah Reading of Nitzavim.