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Samuel Friedenberg (1886 - 1957), was the author’s maternal grandfather. He was not a writer but writers wrote about him.  He was a self made man and not formally educated but ran a successful commercial  building enterprise in the financial sector of Manhattan.  He built a 30-story building on John Street in 1930, and in spite of the Great Depression, it proved to be a great success. In 1950, he also built a 25-story building and it too was another great accomplishment. He was highly intellectual and extremely philanthropic.


Great Jewish Portraits in Metal, was a book about his collection  of 250 medals, plaques and coins dating from antiquity to present day. He traveled to Europe to buy such medals in honor of Jewish scholars, scientists, artists, writers, religious and political leaders, financiers and men of law. This was a permanent collection, on display, in The Jewish Museum in New York City for more than a few decades.  He was a benefactor of the New York Botanical Garden and he also had a collection of 100 fine paintings.

Further, he was featured in the National Cyclopedia of American Biography, James T. White  & Company Publishers, July 1961


Daniel M. Friedenberg (1923 - 2011), a maternal Uncle.

He was a graduate of the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, admired scholarship, intellectual curiosity and writing.  He served as part-time Esteemed Curator of Coins and Medals Emeritus at The Jewish Museum in New York City from 1962-1982. He was a Numismatist and an eclectic collector, published several poems, wrote over 100 magazine articles and seven published books. Further, he was formerly contributing Editor of Dissent and a correspondent and feature writer for The New York Herald Tribune.


He believed in philanthropy and donated a number of collections to museums and colleges including significant Judaica, Pre-Columbian Art, first edition books and modern art.


Merry's first cousin, Jay Friedenberg, PhD, University of Virginia, MA, University of Virginia and BA, Boston University, is a Professor, Department of Psychology, at Manhattan College, Riverdale, New York.


Jay has written several published books and multiple journal articles.  


He and co-author, Gordon Silverman, published the world’s best-selling undergradute textbook in cognitive science.  Work is underway on a fourth edition.


In addition, Jay is active as a poet and pastel landscape painter.

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Russell Friedenberg, Screenwriter, actor, producer and director, Merry's first cousin.


He has attended the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab, Sundance Episodic Writer’s Lab, Tribecca All Access, Sundance Producer’s Lab and was a Fellow at The Writer’s Guild Screenwriter’s Lab. 


His writing and producing credits include TRUDELL, a documentary, which premiered at Sundance and played Tribeca, Munich, SilverDocs, Full Frame, Seattle International and was recently inducted into the National Archive at The Smithsonian.  OUT OF THE BLUE: A FILM ABOUT LIFE AND FOOTBALL for ESPN.


His credits as a writer and director include nine films.  He is currently working on a scripted TV show he created and sold to AMC.