Local businessman doing good abroad

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Rick Glickman tries every day to be a mensch and live a life of mitzvah. That’s not easy, he said.

“It takes a lifetime, but you’re working on yourself every day,” said Glickman.

Glickman, president of the Northbrook-based Dream Kitchens, Inc., which specializes in kosher kitchen design, said he learned that from his father, an Orthodox rabbi.

Perhaps the most well known of Glickman’s mitzvahs is the way he helps travelers to Israel. For the last few years, Dream Kitchens has been the only pickup location in Illinois for phones rented through Israel Phones, a company that lends cell phones to people visiting Israel.

“It used to be the only way to get a rental phone was to rent one from New York,” he said.

Glickman said he is happy to help make the trip easier for people traveling to Israel and to also save them some money. He said renting a phone is far cheaper than paying American carriers’ international rates.

“It’s dollars per minute versus pennies per minute,” he said. “We have 60 phones in stock at any given moment. It’s a mitzvah.”

Glickman said he grew up in small towns without many Orthodox Jews and said he sometimes stood out from the crowd.

“I was the only yarmulke in my high school,” he said with a slight laugh. “It really was a great opportunity to be an example.”

Earlier this year, the Skokie Community Kollel, a Jewish education center, honored Glickman with the Torah V’Avodah Award. In his speech introducing Glickman, Rabbi Kalman Worch said the perfect word to describe Glickman is the word “mensch.”

Glickman said that while his life of mitzvah may manifest itself in the form of allowing his company to be used as a pickup location for Israel Phones, he really wants to be known as someone who does mitzvahs every day.

“You’ve got to be a mensch all day long,” he said. “It starts when you get up and ends when you go to bed.”