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Gwyneth Paltrow and the Naughty Rabbi

Gwyneth Kate Paltrow has a little "exotic" ancestry on her mother's side (her maternal grandfather's maternal grandmother was born in Barbados), but I'd like to focus on her Paltrow lineage. Her father, Bruce William Paltrow (obituary here), was the son of Arnold P. "Buster" Paltrow (death notice here), and Dorothy S. Weigert. Arnold almost didn't grow up to have children. When he was 15 years old, he was severely injured (PDF) in an automobile accident in upstate New York.

Arnold's parentage is revealed by two obituaries from the New York Times—the first dated 11 Jan. 1957:
Myer Paltrowitz of 480 Concord Avenue, the Bronx, who was installed on Jan. 1 as commander of the Hebrew Veterans of the War with Spain, died on Tuesday in his office, the Mott Pipe and Supply Company, 188 East 135th Street, the Bronx. He had been president of the plumbing supply concern for many years. His age was 80. He enlisted in the Army at the start of the Spanish-American War. He leaves his wife, Mrs. Edith Hyman Paltrowitz; two sons, R. Harold Paltrow of Bayside, Queens, and Arnold P. Paltrow of Great Neck, L. I.; three daughters, Mrs. Ruth Giffords of Tucson, Ariz.; Mrs. Marion Rogow of Carl Place, L. I., and Mrs. Doris Bortniker of the Bronx; twelve grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.
... and the second dated 2 Mar. 1959:
PALTROWITZ—Ida H., wife of the late Myer, beloved mother of R. Harold, and Arnold Paltrow, Ruth Gifford, Marian Gallin, and Doris Bortniker, devoted grandmother, great-grandmother and sister.
Myer Paltrowitz was born 7 July 1876 in Boston, Massachusetts (indexed under the name "Meyer Palterewitch"). He married Ida W. Hyman on 15 June 1902 in Manhattan. He apparently had his name changed to "Myer Meyers" 9 Nov. 1903 by the New York State Legislature, but retained or reverted to the name "Paltrowitz." He and his wife are buried in Riverside Cemetery, Saddle Brook, New Jersey.

Myer's mother, Sophia, died 31 Jan. 1920 in Manhattan (her death record, her obituary). His father was Rabbi Simon Paltrovitch, born Jan. 1842 in Poland (then Russia), died 6 Sept. 1926 in Manhattan, New York, according to his death record and his obituary from the New York Times of 7 Sept. 1926.
The Rev. Simon Paltrovitch, formerly chief rabbi in Buffalo, who also held pastorates in Chicago, Boston and Cleveland, died yesterday at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Charles Rosen, 75 Fort Washington Avenue. He was born in Russian Poland eighty three years ago and came to the United States in 1872. He leaves, besides Mrs. Rosen, two sons and another daughter.
The 1922 passport application of his son Harry says that Simon emigrated in March 1876 from Warsaw, but the 1872 date is probably closer to the truth.

Simon was a "Minister" in Buffalo, New York in 1880, but in 1884 was reportedly replaced as rabbi at B'Nai Israel Synagogue in Bradford, Pennsylvania. He eventually returned to the Empire State, where (this website says) "Simcha Paltrowitch served as rabbi in Buffalo, New York from 1890 to 1914." He must have taken a sabbatical (pun intended) during this period, because on 16 Mar. 1899 a Buffalo newspaper reported (PDF) that "Simon Paltrovitch, who is said to have been at one time a rabbi of the Jewish Church, was arrested yesterday on a bench warrant issued by Dist.-Atty. Penney." He was charged with receiving stolen property, and subsequently fined $250. Despite all this, Simon is identified as a clergyman in both the 1900 and 1910 censuses, and in 1903 published a 3-volume religious text which I can read neither left-to-right nor right-to-left.

Corrections and additions are welcome in the comments.

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Comment by Naomi Elbinger on April 2, 2011 at 2:15pm
I translate Hebrew and Yiddish so I can tell you that Rabbi Simcha (Simon) Paltrowicz's book was called "Simchas Hegion," which roughly translates as "The Joy of Knowledge." It was published in Jerusalem and is a collection of his original insights into the Torah and the Jewish holidays. I just took a quick look but the man was obviously quite a scholar. It also says on the title page that his father's name was Tzvi.
Comment by Chris Dunham on July 9, 2009 at 11:34pm
By which I mean that, by using quotes around "Minister," I'm just quoting his occupation as given in the census. not suggesting that Simcha Paltrovitch was a Unitarian in 1880.
Comment by Chris Dunham on July 9, 2009 at 11:26pm
I suspect that as well.
Comment by John Newmark on July 9, 2009 at 11:25pm
I suspect in 1880 'minister' was considered a generic term similar to 'clergy'
Comment by Cindy Johnston Sorley on July 9, 2009 at 11:13pm
Chris, you have wayyyyyyy to much time on your hands.. Can I give you some of my family to research.. ... you are brilliant... so funny, you make me just laugh...




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