Dr. Hindi Krinsky was a loving wife, devoted mother to 8-year-old triplets, a 4-year-old and a toddler, and whip-smart, educated granddaughter of the personal secretary to the Lubavitcher rebbe. She was the teacher everyone wanted to be like and everyone wanted to have in class. “Hindi was a wonderful, sunny person who was very good at meeting people wherever they were at,” says her husband of 11 years, attorney Dovid Kanarfogel.

A sudden complication from Crohn’s disease led to Hindi’s unexpected death last August and ripped the family’s world apart. Her untimely passing touched a nerve in the community as well.

Hindi and her husband Dovid Kanarfogel

“Any time a community loses someone at such a young age, it hits close to home,” says Leslie Gang, a former colleague. “When you find out it was a beloved faculty member, it strikes such a chord.”

A Genius for Touching Hearts and Minds

She fondly remembers Hindi as a star teacher at the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway High School. “Hindi was an inspiring educator and a truly brilliant woman. An English teacher and curriculum coordinator, she was one of those teachers who inspired children from the minute they stepped into her classroom. She was able to engage them immediately. She made learning exciting.”

Hindi not only touched students, but also other teachers. A passionate force for literacy, she encouraged her colleagues to put a sign on their classroom doors about a book they were reading. The initiative sparked many out-of-the-box conversations. Hindi herself was a reading a book by pop culture sensation Mindy Kaling, a 39-year-old American actress and comedian.

Hindi Krinsky teaching

Faculty and staff felt moved to honor Hindi’s memory at her beloved school. Gang brainstormed with one of the principals, who remembered seeing a tiny library on the boardwalk when she was walking on the beach. Given Hindi’s love of knowledge, a tiny library for the lower school seemed like the perfect tribute. Hindi’s husband wholeheartedly endorsed the plan, and they contacted parents by e-mail and text.

The Little Library That Could

Within a week, parents had jumped at the opportunity and donated 300 books—a huge overflow for a little library at the Hebrew Academy. That’s when the idea mushroomed into a broader children’s book drive called Hindi’s Libraries. Gang and Kanarfogel went beyond schools and contacted local organizations about donating books.

They have been amazed by the response. Reports Gang: “Hindi’s Libraries has spiraled into donations of 6,000 books from individuals and publishers like Penguin Random House, Scholastic, Hachette, Simon & Schuster and more.

A book pick-up

“We’re traveling around New York and New Jersey in our free time, picking up books from donors.” Hindi’s Libraries donates the books to places like Jewish community centers, hospitals and children’s organizations. Every book has a special dedication label and provides information about the project.

Holocaust Survivors’ First Great-Grandchild Will Get a Book

One recipient wrote, “I was just given a children’s board book with a sticker affixed donated by Dr. Hindi Krinsky free library. I'd like to give you some background as you may wonder whose hands your books end up in. My parents are Holocaust survivors whose entire family perished during World War II. They came to this country not speaking a word of English but spent every free moment in the public libraries reading, hoping to improve themselves. Their first great-grandchild is due to be born next month and the baby's parents live in Israel. We will send this beautiful book for them to read to the baby after it is born. The love of books and reading is something that we've instilled in our children and grandchildren. What a wonderful and beautiful cause.”

At the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., the director of Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy reported, “The books you provided help to encourage literacy and nurture a child’s love of reading. Many patients take pleasure in the ‘escape’ that reading provides, allowing them to visit faraway places, learn something new or walk in someone else’s footsteps even if they are unable to leave their hospital room. Once a child is given a book, they can take it home and read it again and again.”

Hindi and Dovid Married Their Book Libraries

Hindi’s husband is sure his late wife would be pleased that there are children who have books because of the charitable cause. As newlyweds, the couple married their book libraries and quickly purchased shelves to accommodate them. Their favorite time of the week was Shabbat, when after dinner they shared tea and read together on the couch.

Kanarfogel credits Gang for her energy and devotion to Hindi’s Libraries. As a widower now rearing five children alone says, “This is something I can do with my brain when I’m not always sure what to do with my brain. It’s a healthy, positive, meaningful focus for me.”

For her part, Gang calls Kanarfogel one of the strongest people she has met. “He’s an incredible father, a remarkable human being and a true inspiration for the community.”

To make a donation or for more information about Hindi’s Libraries, visit www.hindislibraries.com.