There is likely no task more challenging or fulfilling than honoring the memory of a loved one.
Dovid Kanarfogel has succeeded in bringing to life the memory of his wife, Long Island teacher Hindi Krinsky, by creating an organization that promotes what she valued most—education.
“Hindi was, among many other things, an impassioned educator who loved and believed in reading and literacy,” Kanarfogel said. “It’s hard for me to think of something that would hit more of Hindi’s buttons than this project. It’s just the straightforward sharing of reading, in a way that is accessible for everyone to give to and reaches children as directly as possible.”
The organization, Hindi’s Libraries, was created to help spread these values to young readers worldwide.
The idea for Hindi’s Libraries came about with the help of Leslie Gang, who worked at the same school where Hindi taught. They put the word out to the community for used books, and created a lending library for students looking to read and share books with one another. What they thought would be enough books to fill a few boxes turned out to be too many to use.
“Eventually we decided that the most impactful thing we could do would be to bring them to a local organization that we know works with disadvantaged kids and families,” Kanarfogel said of managing the excess. “That was 40,000 books ago, and we are still doing that.”
Their project grew into the organization it is today almost organically, explained Gang. She feels honored to help keep Hindi’s memory alive.
Hindi’s Libraries currently accepts donations of new and gently used children’s books, and sends them to organizations across all 50 states and Puerto Rico, Israel and, most recently, India, that help get them into the right children’s hands.
For those interested in donating, Congregation Rinat Yisrael in Teaneck will be collecting books through Dec. 20.
“Our goal is to be able to provide books to children and families who are in need or who have special needs,” Gang said. “This may include working with organizations such as homeless shelters, foster care agencies, legal aid societies that assist families, adoption agencies, outpatient centers, medical centers, hospitals, schools that don’t have proper funding to purchase books or create libraries. Every request we receive is reviewed to ensure that we are sending books to organizations that align with our mission.”
Both Gang, Kanarfogel and other volunteers review each book that is sent in, and label the inside cover with a picture of Hindi, a description of her and the organization and a quote from a former student about Hindi’s passion for reading and education. The books are sorted by age, and then transferred to Kanarfogel’s home where they are packaged and shipped out.
“We’ve currently shipped out more than 300 boxes of books,” Gang said. Each box holds 40 to 50 books. They have a waitlist of 400 more boxes.
Gang and Kanarfogel have received pictures of children holding their books up, happy to have received their gift, and have even traveled personally to deliver books to eager recipients. Kanarfogel hopes that the organization has left children empowered to continue reading and learning.
“Hindi believed absolutely in the transformative power of reading and of books, both as a way for them to fertilize their creative and critical minds, and as a personally empowering life skill,” he said. “We hope that kids who have gotten books from us have felt that kind of empowerment and been able to cultivate their mental gardens in new and meaningful ways.”
By Elizabeth Zakaim