||A letter by R. Joseph Shapotshnick's widow, dated November 4, 1938, offering to sell his books so that she may collect sufficient funds to erect a memorial stone for her late husband.
R. Joseph Shapotshnick, a Talmudic scholar, emmigrated from Kishnev and Odessa to England, where he settled in the East End of London in 1913. He took upon himself the title of Chief Rabbi, and conducted himself in such a manner that he soon came into conflict with the recognized establishment, that is, the Chief Rabbi and his Bet Din, as well as more right wing rabbis. His support of hopeless causes brought him into conflict with established authority and made him a colorful figure in his day. Among his opponents was R. Samuel Hillman, Dayan of the United Synagogue, who referred to Shapotshnick as a madman in correspondence with such prominent Eastern European rabbis as R. Hayyim Ozer Grodzinski of Vilna. The latter responded with a proclamation, signed by hundreds of rabbis, opposing Shapotshnick. In response, Shapotshnick published “Original Letters Received from World Famous Rabbinical Authorities Recognizing Chief Rabbi . . . Shapotshnick as one of the Greatest Talmudic Scholars. . .” He was a prolific writer, his works encompassing a wide variety of subjects, from Kabbalah and responsa to science and psychology.