Miles Berger // Berger Organization

Miles (Mordechai Pinchas) Berger is the chairman and CEO of the Berger Organization, overseeing the company’s large real estate portfolio in both the commercial and hospitality space. The majority of the company’s investments are in Newark, New Jersey.
A quick online search for Miles’ name reveals a myriad of press releases issued by government agencies, local political groups and nonprofits, praising him for his work in helping revitalize Newark.
He has been recognized for his professional and personal efforts with Newark’s Businessperson of the Year Award, as well as community service honors from the Newark Police Department, Hispanic Law Enforcement of Essex County and Newark Emergency Services for Families, to name just a few.
We spoke about the origin of Miles’ career, what it’s like to forge one’s own path in a family business, and the career he turned down to pursue business. Enjoy!  


I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York, until I was six years old, when our family moved to Riverdale. My father, Saul, was quite active in the Riverdale Jewish Center. Our family’s rabbi was Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, and I commuted to Ramaz in the city.
“My father was born in Frysztak, Poland, and he immigrated to the United States with his mother when he was ten years old. He was the youngest of five siblings, but they didn’t all travel together because they didn’t have enough money to buy five tickets at the same time. My grandfather passed away when my father was very young, and he was practically raised by his older brother Benny, who was about 11 years older than him.
“The oldest sibling was his sister, who was the first to come to America. She made a little bit of money and sent it back to her family so that her next sibling could come. My father’s brother, who was the second to oldest, came next and then sent the money he and his sister were making back to the family. They came by boat to Ellis Island and moved to the Bronx.
“When my father came to this country, he was a customer peddler. His older brother Benny was a customer peddler as well, which is how my father got into the business. It doesn’t exist anymore, but they would go door to door selling things. They had a route in the Bronx, ringing doorbells and trying to sell dry goods—sheets, pillowcases, draperies, bedspreads and towels—to whoever answered.
“In those days, if a person bought five towels for three dollars, they would put 50 cents down. My father and his brother would come back once a month to collect 25 cents on that. When they would go back to collect, they were always prepared to sell something else. When my father got older, he ventured into the real estate market. My mother was a housewife, and she brought up my brother Bruce and me.
“Our family grew up more modern religiously. I went to Ramaz until I graduated from elementary school. For high school, I switched to a school in Riverdale called Barnard School for Boys. It has now merged into Horace Mann.
“Growing up, I had an interest in singing, and I wanted to be a chazzan. I took all kinds of chazzanus and voice lessons, but I wanted to be an opera singer. I wanted to emulate a Jewish tenor in New York City named Richard (Reuven) Tucker. I started singing with the chazzan from the Concourse Center of Israel, which was our school in the Bronx before we moved to Riverdale. I took chazzanus lessons from a man in Manhattan named Tzvi Aharoni.
“Every Sunday I would go with my father to work doing peddling. At some point, he and his brother Benny bought a building in the Bronx. Soon thereafter, Benny passed away of a heart attack in his late 40s. My father acted as a father to Benny’s three kids just as Benny had done for him. He used to pick them up on Sundays and take them to get bagels. They would come to our house, and we would spend every weekend together.
“We still own the first building my father and Benny bought when they decided to go into real estate. They focused their attention on the Bronx, buying apartments and rooming houses. Today it’s a family-run business.
“For college, I went to Long Island University in Brooklyn. I majored in economics. At that time, I was in and out of the business with my father. I was also focusing on what’s called the Solfège method, which is sight singing, where one trains to sing a song based on written musical notes without hearing the song first. I studied with a former Metropolitan Opera tenor named Giulio Gari, who was Jewish. At one point, he was also a chazzan and had retired from the Met.

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