6 photographs : col. ; 10 x 14 cm or smaller (sight) in mat 45 x 40 cm
Scope and Content
Accession consists of material documenting Teme Kernerman and her involvement in Israeli folk dancing. Included are: seven photo albums of different dance performances Kernerman was involved with as well as one binder (plus envelope) worth of textual records relating to dance festivals she contributed to.
Teme Kernerman (née London) was born in Toronto on 8 July 1932 to Ann Mandel and Harry London. She grew up with a younger sister Corrine ("Cookie").
Kernerman became involved in Israeli dance through Habonim, a Zionist youth movement. Upon graduating high school, she spent a year at Geva, a kibbutz in Israel's Jezreel Valley. There, she learned Hebrew and benefited from increased exposure to Israeli dance.
Upon returning to Canada, she continued to be active in Israeli dance and, after a period of working in government and Jewish nursery schools, made the decision to pursue dance fulltime.
In 1955, Kernerman moved to New York City, where she studied modern dance in the day and international and Israeli folk dance at night. Through a connection to Jewish dance instructor/educator Dvora Lapson, Kernerman became involved in children's dance festivals, which would inspire her Rikudiyah festival years later.
In 1957, Kernernman returned to Toronto. There, she was active teaching students, training teachers, and leading dance workshops. She created and also served as the directress/choreographer of the Nirkoda Israeli dancers. The troupe aimed to bring Israeli folk dance not only to Jewish communities throughout Ontario, but to the general public as well.
In 1960, Kernerman's husband became director of a gallery in Tel Aviv and she made the decision to make aliyah. In 1967, the couple along with their two children, Doron Noam and Varda Rifka, moved back to Canada, where she reestablished the Nirkoda Isreali Dance Troupe. The troupe continued until 1985.
Kernerman directed the first Rikudiyah festival in 1968. Initially made up of only forty children, it was held at the Jewish Community Centre on Spadina Avenue. From there, it moved to Northview Heights Secondary School in North York. When Kernerman saw that parents were sitting on the floor due to lack of seating, she brought it to York University, where it remained for twenty-five years.
When York underwent construction, Kernerman brought the Rikudiyah to Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto and divided it into programs: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The Rikudiyah continues to be active and since 2015 has been held at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre: Jewish Community Centre Lebovic Campus.
In 1969, Kernerman was instrumental and establishing the Ontario Folk Dance Association and the Ontario Folk Dance Teachers Association, for which she served as chairperson.
Kernerman's involvement in the community was not limited to dance. Between 1985 and 2000, she served as the director of the Fifty-Five Plus Department of Adult Services at the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre.
Kernerman was twice honoured by the Ontario Folk Dance Association. She was the recipient of the Ontario Arts Council Choreographers Award in 1978 and the Ontario Folk Arts Recognition Fellowship Award in 1991. In 2007, she was honoured at the Toronto IsReal Dance Festival.
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