Diane Osen Covkin and Rick Covkin
RABBI ISRAEL E. TURNER MEMORIAL AWARD
When Rick Covkin met Diane Osen, he was a bond trader with little interest in literature, and she was a writer with little interest in Wall Street. All they seemed to have in common was a love of dogs, sports and Jewish life. But in fact they were alike in every way that mattered most to them; and now their lives revolve around family, friends and Congregation Israel.
Rick is not only a fixture at every minyan and virtually every shiur given by Rabbi Chaim Marcus; in his role as chair of the CIS Religious Committee, he has also spent the past year rearranging chairs and labels, as he has devised and revised countless seating plans to maximize communality, while simultaneously assisting the Shul in keeping members safe. The gabbai at our Hashkamah minyan and a participant in the CIS Semichat Chaver Program, he is a member and former officer of the CIS Board of Trustees. In all of these roles, Rick tries to utilize the perspectives he gained as a founder of Ahavat Torah in Short Hills, led by Rabbi Mendel Solomon, where he served as the inaugural gabbai and president. For more than 15 years, he has been engrossed in Daf Yomi, mostly together with his West Side Jewish Center chevra and Maggid Shiur Rabbi Barry Lebovits, who is also one of the originators of the memory tool Zichru.
Diane now devotes much of her writing life to CIS. A co-editor of our Torah Journal Rei’ach HaSadeh, she is the writer behind our Shul’s Annual Dinner communications and our recent community messaging, and a proud talmidah of Rabbi Marcus. A former officer of the Board, she is currently a member of the Security Committee and Sisterhood. Diane was also a founder of Ahavat Torah and a board member and volunteer at the Milton School, which provides an alternate learning environment for children and teens with emotional or behavioral problems. She volunteered at JKHA/RKYHS for 17 years, serving on multiple committees and producing everything from the school’s mission statement to its security manuals. In addition, she was an officer of the Board of Trustees and chair of the JKHA/RKYHS Executive Board of Education.
Rick and Diane’s parents also appeared to be unlikely life partners: Rose and Harry Covkin z’l embodied the contrast between kibbeh and kugel, while Shirley and Cantor David Osen z’l, were avatars of Southern sociability and Yekke stateliness. But all four were lifelong Zionists who shared the same Jewish values and taught their children to treasure their traditions, heritage and one another.
Rick was a Managing Director and Institutional Municipal Bond Trader at Raymond James, where he spent 24 of his 36 years on Wall Street weighing risks and rewards—an ideal career for a native of Saratoga Springs, New York, home of the famed Saratoga Race Course. After establishing herself as a corporate communications executive at firms like NBC and Columbia Pictures, Diane started an arts and entertainment consulting practice, and taught expository writing and sports reporting at NYU. She has published four books and numerous articles, and wrote the libretto for the original opera and CD Jane Eyre, composed by Louis Karchin, the son-in-law of CIS members Beverly and Sam z’l Sirota.
Rick and Diane married a year to the day they met, and were soon joined by their first golden retriever Tabouli and their beloved daughter Serena; she grew up in Short Hills with two more retrievers and two collies. Today she is married to her wonderful husband Adam Pershan, a fellow UPenn graduate, and they live in Chicago, where Serena is a PhD candidate in US History, and Adam is a senior manager at a data analytics company.
Rick and Diane are deeply grateful to Rabbi Marcus for his incomparable guidance and kindness, and to all the cherished family, rabbis, teachers and friends who have enriched their lives. They know they are blessed to be part of the CIS community and Klal Yisrael.