Temima Gezari


Temima Gezari

Temima Gezari (born December 21,1905) is an American artist and an art educator.

Her life's work in painting and sculpture is presented in the retrospective photographic book entitled: "The Art of Temima Gezari" edited by her son, Daniel Gezari. She worked for 63 years at the same job, Director of Art Education for the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York, finally retiring at age of 98 in 2003.

Temima Gezari came to the United States as an eight month old baby. She was born Fruma Nimtzowitz on December 21, 1905 in Pinsk, Russia. She grew up in Brooklyn with her parents Israel and Bella, sister Etta and brother Ruby. The family lived in the back of her father's hardware store on Pitkin Avenue in Brownsville.

Temima graduated from Brooklyn Girls High School in 1921 and the Teacher's Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1925. Her first art teacher was Bulah Stevenson, an inspiring woman who influenced Temima's early development as an artist. She went on to study art at the Parsons New York School of Fine and Applied Arts with Emil Bisttram and Howard Giles (1923-1927), and the Art Students League in New York. In 1933 she was befriended by Diego Rivera while he was painting his mural at Rockefeller Center (1933). She also studied at Columbia University, the New School for Social Research, and Hunter College. In 1990 Temima Gezari was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the Jewish Theological Seminary of New York.

Professor Mordecai Kaplan had a great influence on her professional life. In 1935, as Dean of the Teachers Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary, he appointed her to the faculty where she taught art education and art history for forty-two years. In 1940, Dr. Alexander Dushkin, director of the newly formed Jewish Education Committee asked Temima to be the Director of the Department of Art Education of what is now the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York, a position she held until retiring in 2003, after 63 years, at the age of 98. She is now 101.

Temima is a humanist. She has discovered, and actively promotes, an important approach to the development full human potential - recognize their great innate creativity and encourage them to express it. Her book, "Footprints and New Worlds" (Reconstructionist Press 1957), presents her philosophy of child development through her experiences in art with children and adults. Temima Gezari has dedicated her life to helping others find this creative self, while exploring the dimensions of her own spirit. She has brought us an opportunity to recognize in her art, and in ourselves, the creative capacity of the human being.

A video biography of Temima Gezari, made when she was in her early 90's, can be viewed at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vkwc2p-Pgdw

She is now 102 and living comfortably in her home/studio.

Books by Temima Gezari

(Books published by Studio Workshop Press, 66 Noah's Path, Rocky Point, NY 11778):

Retrospective collection of her work:
* The Art of Temima Gezari ISBN 0-9616269-0-9

Philosophy of Art Education:
* Now That I’m Ninety-Five ISBN 0-9616269-1-7
* Art and Education ISBN 0-9616269-2-5
* Footprints and New Worlds (see below)Autobiographical Series:
* Mama, Papa and Me ISBN 0-9616269-4-1
* Never a Dull Moment ISBN 0-9616269-7-6
* Is There a Tomorrow? Yes! ISBN 0-9616269-5-X
* This is the House that Zvi Built ISBN 0-9616269-6-8
* I Remember ISBN 0-9616269-3-3

(Reprinted books available through Studio Workshop Press):

* "The Jewish Kindergarten" by Deborah Pessin and Temima Gezari, Union of American Hebrew Congregations - 1944

* "Dovidl" by H. A. Friedland, Illustrated by Temima Gezari, National Council for Jewish Education - 1944

* "Hillel’s Happy Holidays" by Mamie Gamoran, Illustrated by Temima Gezari, Union of American Hebrew Congregations - 1939

* "Footprints and New Worlds" by Temima Gezari, Reconstructionist Press - 1957


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