Augusta Kirshner Reinhardt (1907-2005)

Augusta “Gussie” Reinhardt was born on December 31, 1907 in Salem, Oregon to Oscar and Anna Kirshner of Odessa, Russia; her siblings were Ora Kirshner Goodman, Hyman Kirshner, and Isadore Kirshner. She graduated from Lincoln High School in Portland in 1925, majored in physical education at the University of Washington, and received her master’s degree in physical education and dance from Columbia University Teacher’s College in New York. Gussie taught and danced with Martha Graham and others in New York during the 1930s.

Gussie married Justin Reinhardt, a native New Yorker in 1939, and returned to Oregon during the Second World War. Justin served in the army, was wounded in Italy and later joined Gussie in Portland. Their daughters Isa Reinhardt Tenney (died in 1994) and Deborah Reinhardt Brandt were born in Portland in 1943 and 1945, respectively. The Reinhardts later divorced.

Gussie was involved with numerous local Jewish organizations, e.g., board member of Kesser Israel, the Orthodox congregation where her father had long been president; president of the local Hadassah chapter and the Robison Jewish Home Sisterhood; an active member of the Jewish National Fund, the Mizrachi Women’s Organization, the Jewish Federation, Jewish Family and Child Services, Americans for a Safe Israel, Portland Jewish Ritualarium, and numerous other groups. She traveled extensively in Europe and was in Israel for the dedication of the Oregon Friendship Forest. Gussie was also a dance teacher at Miss Fisher’s Nursery School for many years, and was co-founder of the Portland Dance Events Committee.

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