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Honoring Cindy Goussak

Vegas Born Cindy Goussak, member of Midbar Kodesh Temple, will be honored at a special celebration on March 22, for her vision, leadership and creative work that she has done at Midbar Kodesh T

emple and throughout the community. Though born in Las Vegas, Cindy grew up in Winnipeg, and that is the accent you pick up when talking to her. Cindy received her Master's Degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University and her Bachelor of Arts in Media from the University of Arizona. Cindy is married to Greg Goussak and mother to Ariel and Alyssa. She is the daughter of Sharna Riceberg of blessed memory, and Midbar Kodesh Temple members Harvey and Janis Riceberg. Her brother Danny lives in Los Angeles. Her sister is Marci Riceberg Altman, married to Joel Altman, who together with their sons, are also active at the synagogue every day.

Though Cindy spent several summers in Las Vegas she finally moved here permanently to marry Greg in 1996. She had known Greg over the years, as his father was the closest of friends to her dad. On her arrival Cindy began her career at Nevada State Bank working as a Vice President of Marketing. Cindy and Greg started their life together as early members of MKT at the storefront on Eastern, but it was in 2000, when looking for a family home, both spiritually and socially, that Midbar became her central passion. Coinciding with the opportunity to stay home to raise their daughters, Cindy's role as a "stay at home mom" meant establishing her own consulting company and launching what she calls her "career in volunteerism."

Though Midbar Kodesh Temple had a pre-school on premises as early as 1995, Cindy, with friends Julie Ostrovsky and Riki Wiederhorn, began the Early Childhood Center and guided it to becoming the crown jewel it is today. Cindy joined Midbar's Board of Directors under the leadership of President Steve Green, with primary attention to the Early Childhood Center and Midbar Kodesh Temple's Religious School. It was under the co-Presidencies of Isabel Goldberg and Carlos Banchik that she became Treasurer, a position that she held collectively for over 8 years. She served as the synagogue's Vice President for 1 year and President for 3 years.

As Ariel and Alyssa began going off to college, Cindy looked at transitioning back into the workforce. Her consulting business put her in the position to help establish the non-profit Collaboration Center Foundation, a community for inclusion, focused upon family and peer engagement, social interaction, recreation, therapy and education for families with disabilities. At the same time she brought her administrative talents to Welt Law, a local law firm.

Over the years at Midbar Kodesh Temple Cindy was the driving force behind many programs, as well as branding and communications, and has chaired decades of fundraising events, including acknowledgement programs, like the one in which she is being honored. Often her committees would say "we should honor Cindy" and then looked at each other shrugging their shoulders to say, "well who would chair it?" This year, encouraged by co-Presidents Kevin Diamond and Shira Wood, and under the capable guidance of Abbie Villanueva, Becky Lewis and Susan Schwartz, the time was now. Dayna Eisen, Shira Wood and Sandy and Stuart Stern also sit on the committee.

This year's nautical theme pays tribute to one of Midbar's first fundraisers. We will once again be "Sailing Away on the USS Midbar" throwing a festive party for one of Midbar's favorites. The celebration will begin at 5:00 p.m. with a cruise worthy dinner presented by Aaron Klafter Phillips of Chef KP Creations.

Cindy says that her "heart will always be with Midbar Kodesh Temple." She gives countless hours of time and talent to ensure a legacy for years to come. Cindy takes much pleasure in mentoring new leadership. She takes joy in watching the MKT family come together to always make it happen." You will hear her say "this is why we do it" as she proudly watches the congregation share joy, and sometimes sadness. It fills her to see congregants warmly greet new members, move the chairs to set up a room or to make room for others, fill a shiva house and truly be there for each other. Cindy often likes to paraphrase a line from a favorite movie saying that it truly defines her relationship with MKT. "Midbar completes me."

For more information on the celebration at Midbar Kodesh Temple in honor of Cindy Goussak, contact the synagogue at 702.454.4848 or go to to purchase a ticket.

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