This text was prepared by William Gross:
R. Spira (d.1666), a renowned mekubal, was born in Cracow, where his father was a dayyan. He served as rabbi in several locations in Poland prior to settling in Eretz Israel, where he became rabbi of the Ashkenazic community. After the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648-1649 he went to Europe to raise funds for the Jewish communities in Eretz Israel, which suffered due to a decline in support because of the devastation in Europe. Among the communities he visited was Amsterdam, where his influence caused Menasseh ben Israel to bring the plight of Polish Jewry to Oliver Cromwell's attention. Although he returned to Jerusalem, Spira again traveled to Europe, where he died in Reggio, Italy.
Michael Gottschalk was a local bookbinder and bookdealer who took over the management of Johann Christoph Beckman's printing press in Frankfort d.O. in 1693. Gottschalk became the moving spirit of the press for almost four decades. His most ambitious project was a completed edition of the Talmud, printed in 1697-1699, a work for which the Frankfurt press is best known to this day.
Typical frontispiece for this city, but with different printers mark up top