Israel’s Own Don Quixote  

Don Quixote was famous for tilting at windmills which are, of course, incredibly energy efficient. But Israel has its own Don Quixote in the person of Daniel Berger, who also (figuratively) tilts at windmills pushing the energy efficiency bar as far as his limited finances and failing health will take him.

A native of Asbury Park, New Jersey (along with the more famous native son, Bruce Springsteen), Daniel graduated from New Jersey’s Rutgers University in 1971 with a degree in history, having been a campus activist as well in the then popular civil rights and Vietnam War protests.  With an abiding interest in law, he went on to graduate from Brooklyn Law School specializing in contracts and commercial law. Since 1979 he has been a green tech professional, first in New Jersey and then in Israel after his aliyah over 30 years ago.

Residing in Lod, he is the senior coordinator of Future Energy Marketing, an energy consulting cooperative and a founder of the Middle East-Israel Green chamber of Commerce whose idealistic goal is to forge a just, balanced, sustainable and green Middle East peace.  In short, Daniel is a dreamer who believes the sustainable energy is both a critical need in the region and a pathway to regional peace.  He has devoted his life to this cause and, sadly, has barely made a living doing so.

His energy has been directed to convincing people to pay serious attention to Witt Energy Generators (www.witt-energy-solutions.com), the British invention that he believes has the power to transform the energy industry.  Witt generators use no fossil fuels; work in any weather and climate; work on land and in water; and generate energy from any type of random motion.

If you speak with people here who know him, many of them will give you a knowing smile as if to say, “We’ve heard of him but we don’t take him seriously.”  This, in spite of his continuing efforts to change the energy world, his blog, his You Tube clips, his work on assisting the Ukrainian people to reduce their dependence on Russian oil, his activity as an Earth Day organizer, his 22 years of work in the development of the Israel Committee for Sustainable Economic Growth, and the consulting work he has done for Ministry of Foreign affairs regarding their aid programs to Africa and the Far East.

Indeed, he is the personification of a Jewish Don Quixote, dedicated to a thankless task, rarely recognized for his commitment and devotion to his work, and all  too often maligned or simply thought of as a pest.

American musical lyricist Joe Darion, most famous for Man of LaMancha, remarked: “One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world was better for this. – Don Quixote.”

Daniel Berger can be described similarly, as he has devoted his entire life to a cause that few people here or anywhere else take seriously enough.  But Israel owes immigrants like Daniel Berger a debt of gratitude for sacrificing themselves, their health and their families for the good and welfare of the rest of us.   For that we need to say thank you to the Don Quixotes of the world who make it possible for the rest of us to live the lives we choose.

Perhaps this small “thank you” will make him feel that his efforts were not in vain.

About the Author
Sherwin Pomerantz is a native New Yorker, who lived and worked in Chicago for 20 years before coming to Israel in 1984. An industrial engineer with advanced degrees in mechanical engineering and business, he is President of Atid EDI Ltd., a 33 year old Jerusalem-based economic development consulting firm which, among other things, represents the regional trade and investment interests of a number of US states, Ontario and Hong Kong. A past national president of the Association of Americans & Canadians in Israel, he is also Chairperson of the Israel Board of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. His articles have appeared in various publications in Israel and the US.
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