Rabbi Ozer Glickman Z”L: An Unusual and Remarkable Rosh Yeshiva
The untimely and sudden death of Rabbi Ozer Glickman shocked his family, friends, and
admirers. A man of multiple interests and talents, his loss will be felt most acutely by his beloved
family, but also by many others. While there is much to say about Rabbi Glickman being a true
renaissance man in a world of specialization, I would like to focus on his role at Y eshiva, where
he served as a Rosh Yeshiva and faculty member in IBC, Sy Syms, and Cardozo.
In many ways, Rabbi Glickman’s background and life experiences were radically
different from his fellow Roshei Yeshiva. He was not a product of the standard yeshiva system.
His acquisition of Torah knowledge came from a range of sources rarely mentioned in the same
context. He studied in Israel at Merkaz Ha-Rav and learned at the Philadelphia Yeshiva without
formally being a student. He was a disciple of the most prominent proponents of academic
Talmud study and learned with a major Hassidic scholar. During his highly successful career as
an investment banker, Rabbi Glickman became enthralled with the Brisker Torah of the Rav. He,
in his inimitable fashion, was able to integrate all these strands into one cohesive approach to
Torah. R. Glickman was never satisfied by his accomplishments: to his last day, he sought to
grow in Torah knowledge.
The great challenge that faced Yeshiva during my days as a student was who would be
able to replace the Roshei Yeshiva. They were giants of European Talmudical erudition who
studied in the Torah centers of Eastern Europe which were destroyed in the Holocaust.
Remarkably, Yeshiva has successfully produced two generations of its own Torah scholars and
leaders. Like virtually all accomplishments however, there is a down side. With all of the
rabbinic faculty having essentially the same background and life experiences, a substantial
number of students were not able to find an appropriate mentor.
Rabbi Glickman was the exception. The combination of his broad and varied experiences
with his human warmth made him a magnet for these students. He had an unofficial office at a
table near Nagel Bagel where any student, enrolled in one of his classes or not, could come and
discuss Talmud, Jewish philosophy, or life in general. Moreover, his vast erudition enabled him
to be at home in a multiplicity of disciplines. His course in business ethics was particularly
unique because he embodied the very values that he taught.
Though not a product of Yeshiva, Rabbi Glickman was a fierce advocate for Yeshiva’s
values and defended other Roshei Yeshiva even when his views differed from theirs. By utilizing
social media to express his approach to religious life, followers and admirers whom he had never
met were able to benefit from his wisdom. He applied Torah U-Madda to the complexities of the
modern world and was able to bring a mature commitment to sensitive issues after having been
exposed to many approaches. Rabbi Glickman made a positive impact on many lives, but was taken from us with great
potential ahead of him. It is difficult to imagine even a partial replacement for his unique
combination of erudition and humanity. Let his memory be a source of blessings.
Rabbi Yosef Blau serves as the Mashgiach Ruchani at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological