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Singer Michal the Girl Dies After Giving Birth to Twins

By Carla Zanoni | December 3, 2011 2:51pm
Michal Lura Friedman, best known as the singer Michal the Girl, died on Nov. 25, 2011 after giving birth to twins.
Michal Lura Friedman, best known as the singer Michal the Girl, died on Nov. 25, 2011 after giving birth to twins.
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MySpace/Hannah Thomson

INWOOD — An up-and-coming Inwood singer-songwriter and actress who dreamed of being a mother died tragically the day after Thanksgiving after giving birth to healthy twins.

Devastated family and friends of Michal Lura Friedman, best known as the singer Michal the Girl, are asking New Yorkers for help raising her newborn babies.

Friedman, 44, a regular performer at Joe's Pub in the East Village, died Nov. 25 from surgical complications shortly after receiving a C-section while giving birth to healthy a healthy boy, Jackson James, and girl, Reverie Vivian Snyder, according to her family.

The South Carolina native, who described herself on her website as "five foot nothing" with a voice "strong enough to blow your hair backwards," released two CDs and had her work featured on a number of dance albums. She also was the voice for Annalise Zazic on Nickelodeon's "Speed Racer: the Next Generation" cartoon.

Friedman and her husband, Jay Snyder, a voice actor and director, had recently moved to Inwood from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in order to find a larger home in anticipation of their expanding family.

Friends and family say the singer's greatest dream was to become a mother and the couple had been trying to have a baby for seven years.

"Many of you know Michal as a musician, but her greatest dream was to be a mother," reads an email sent to friends and family. "For the last seven years, Michal and Jay had been using every possible resource they had to make this dream come true."

“Here they were struggling to have a baby for years and then all of a sudden they have two gorgeous children,” said family friend Greg Abbey. "They are healthy and perfect."

The babies arrived home on Dec. 1.

News of Friedman's death sent ripples throughout the couple's new neighborhood as well as the city and country.

"The amount of sleep that has been lost nationally, because of this death is staggering," said friend Anthony Haden Salerno. "This affects mothers, parents, friends who are pregnant, it has sent shocks to everyone."

Since Friedman’s death, family and friends have been working around the clock to help Snyder and collect donations. They recently set up a tribute website for the deluge of requests to help the mourning family and said cash donations are most helpful at this time.

“Although there will obviously be needs far into the future, we are trying to help with immediate expenses, which will add up so quickly with twins,” reads a site dedicated to helping the family. “Jay needs all the support he can get in order to provide the care that is needed for Jackson and Reverie.”

A memorial for Friedman, a practicing Buddhist, was held Wednesday in Chelsea at the New York Shambhala Center on West 22nd Street.

“There were so many people they couldn’t get out of the elevator and had to spill back out onto the street,” said Snyder’s friend Salerno.

Salerno and Abbey are longtime friends with Snyder, who they first got to know when in college at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.

They said that in addition to donations and gifts, promises to help out with everything — from babysitting to driving to doing chores — have been so great they are currently creating a Google Calendar to track everyone’s schedules.

“Jay has an army of a support amongst family, friends and colleagues,” Salerno said. "It's amazing."

Although family and friends remain shaken from the tragic events, Abbey said he and others were able to take solace in the beauty of the outpouring of support.

“New York can be a tough town and people sort of have to put there head down to get through the day in this city, but this reminds me of that spirit of New Yorkers,” he said. “This has awoken the spirit, something so special to New York…the people really rise up here.”

A benefit concert for the family that pays tribute to Friedman has been scheduled for later this month.

An Evening in Memory of Michal the Girl” will be held on Monday, Dec. 19, at the Canal Room at 285 W. Broadway, between 8 and 11 p.m. Donations can also be made at www.thesnydertwins.com.