February 18, 1999
From Paltrowitch to Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow, the beautiful, blond Oscar-nominated heroine of "Shakespeare in Love," is descended from a distinguished rabbinical dynasty, called Paltrowitch, which may stretch back to 17th-century Russia.
According to the London-based Jewish Chronicle, the actress can count 33 rabbis among her ancestors on her father's side.
Her great-great-great-grandfather was Rabbi Tsvi Paltrowitch, the Gaon of Nitzy-Novgorod in southwest Russia, the Jewish Chronicle reported.
His three sons, all rabbis, emigrated to America in the 19th century. One, Simcha Paltrowitch, served as rabbi in Buffalo from 1890 to 1914.
Another son, Mayer, subsequently moved to England and established the now defunct Old Central Synagogue in Leeds.
It was through the British branch of the Paltrowitch family that the Jewish Chronicle established the lineage of the American branch, including the actress and her cousin, Dr. Irving Paltrowitch of Newark, N.J.
According to genealogical studies by Rabbi Nachum Paltrowitch, a member of the Leeds family, a direct ancestor was Rabbi David Ben Samuel Ha-Levi, a renowned 17th-century authority on Jewish law. He was known as the "Taz" from the initials of his major work, "Turei Zahav."
Gwyneth's father is TV producer Bruce Paltrow, and her mother is actress Blythe Danner. Her brother, Jake, had a bar mitzvah, according to the Jewish Chronicle. -- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor