Mazel Tov to Gerald S. Cook. JSL 8 Over 80 Award Recipient.

Gerald S. Cook

We are so grateful to Gerald “Jerry” Cook and his wife Barbara for their continued support of the Ben Teitel Incentive Grant that helps teens travel to Israel through Federation’s GetThere! Israel Travel Grants program. Now, Jewish Senior Life (JSL) is recognizing Jerry for his commitment to our Jewish community too as one of their 2024 8 Over 80 honorees.

Jerry began his Jewish community volunteerism after graduating from Harvard Law School. He was an active volunteer and board member of Hillel Day School, Adat Shalom, Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish Federation of Detroit and the Michigan Committee for Conservative Judaism in Israel, as well as president of the American Jewish Congress Michigan Region and Jewish Historical Society of Michigan.

Cook’s most substantial volunteer role has been as the Trustee of the Ben N. Teitel Charitable Trust. His uncle, Ben Teitel, left the bulk of his estate to help Jews in Michigan and Israel, and Cook is privileged to carry out the work his uncle entrusted to him. The first major gift from the Teitel Trust helped create the Harriett and Ben Teitel Jewish Senior Life Apartments in 1990. The Teitel Trust gift provided enhancements such as air conditioning, a canopy and carpeted halls as well as created the endowment fund that helped secure United States government aid for JCare.

In addition to GetThere!, as Trustee, Cook has given millions of dollars in Harriett and Ben Teitel’s names to JVS (now Gesher Human Services), Jewish Family Service, the JOIN program for college internships, and many other Michigan Jewish programs and buildings.

The Trust also brought two planeloads of Soviet immigrants to Israel and funded Israeli buildings and programs for youth and older adults.

On top of it all, Jerry has balanced these roles with devotion to family, judicial clerkship with U.S. District Court Judge Theodore Levin and a 42-year career at the Honigman law firm.

From all of us in the Israel & Overseas Department Toda Raba and Yasher Koach.