Rabbi Joshua (Shiya) Szpetman was a native of Lublin, who had already been a Rosh Yeshiva in Poland when he emigrated to London. He was the Rabbi of the Nelson Street Sephardishe Synagogue from the 1930s until his death in 1964.
We should say a word about the Nelson Street Synagogue. It is the survivor of all the Federation of Synagogues Shuls and Shtiebels that once graced the East End of London. They have all amalgamated as the East End Jewish population, already partly dispersed by the war, shrank drastically in the last half of the twentieth century. But somehow, now called the East London Central Synagogue, it is still there, at 30/40 Nelson Street, E1. There is an interesting article on the Nelson Street Shul on the Spitalfields Life website.
Rabbi Szpetman’s background was Chassidic, and he was a friend and disciple of the author and thinker Hillel Zeitlin. He was an orator and author and wrote regularly for the London Yiddish Newspaper Di Zeit.
As well as books and articles, Rabbi Szpetman wrote a series of High Holiday booklets, of which this, of 48 pages, is one.
His rhetoric is quite fiery and challenging. He was sometimes known as the “red rabbi”.
The London Biala Rebbe, Rabbi Nathan David Rabbinowitz died suddenly in 1947, leaving his ethical will, which was read by Rabbi Szpetman at his funeral. It was written in Hebrew and translated by Rabbi Szpetman into Yiddish.
Here is a selection from Rabbi Szpetman’s booklet for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Simchas Toray, for 5718 (1957):