Board of Directors

Daniel Spiro, President

Daniel Spiro, together with Haytham Younis, founded JIDS in 2009.  He is the author of Liberating the Holy Name: A Free-Thinker Grapples with the Meaning of Divinity (Cascade Books, 2014) and two novels of ideas, Moses the Heretic  (Aegis Press, 2008) and The  Creed Room (Aegis Press, 2006).  Since 2001, he has also served as the Coordinator of the Washington Spinoza Society, a discussion group sponsored by the Goethe-Institute Washington.  In addition, Daniel has published works on the role of religion in the public schools and the philosophy of education, and he regularly blogs under the name “Empathic Rationalist.” Daniel is also active in the pursuit of peace in the Middle East.  When not pursuing his love of philosophy and religion, or serving as an advocate for peace, Daniel works as a full-time attorney specializing in investigating and litigating against corporations that engage in fraud.  Daniel Spiro’s website can be found at www.danielspiro.com.  His e-mail address is creedroom@danielspiro.com

Kay Halpern, Secretary

Kay is a Senior Analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, where her work has focused largely on international development and global public health. The daughter of cultural anthropologist parents who spent a good part of her childhood in a Balkan village, Kay has always tried to understand differing perspectives. She began her career in the early 1980’s working for the Joint Distribution Committee with Jewish refugees from what was then the Soviet Union and then as the Public Relations Director at the National Conference on Soviet Jewry. She has been a JIDS member and stalwart from close to the inception of the organization, and is currently an active member of another interfaith group, Sisters of Salaam-Shalom. She has also been affiliated with a number of organizations devoted to bringing peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Herb Cooper-Levy, Treasurer

Herb has served from 1998 until the present as President of Herb Cooper-Levy & Associates, an organization devoted to helping the growth of nonprofit organizations.   He also serves as Executive Director of Focus Music, a nonprofit presenter of folk and acoustic music, Community Coordinator for Kol Ami, the Northern Virginia Reconstructionist (Jewish) Community, and as a grant writer for Beth El House, a nonprofit organization serving formerly homeless domestic abuse survivors.  Herb has directed local and national nonprofit organizations for more than 26 years.

Susan Samuels, Director

Susan, who holds an advanced degree in Human Resource Development, is a Board Member Emeritus of the Biblical Archaeology Society of Northern Virginia and a Co-coordinator of the Gurdjieff study group at the St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church.  She formerly served as Coordinator of the Noetic Science of Alexandria, an organization devoted to the deeper understanding of consciousness, and has also coordinated an interfaith discussion group largely devoted to the works of Amy-Jill Levine.

Beyhan Cagri Trock, Director

Beyhan Trock is an architect and owner of TrockWorks, a residential architecture firm in Bethesda, MD.  She is also author of “The Ottoman Turk and the Pretty Jewish Girl – Real Turkish Cooking,” an acclaimed cookbook/memoir which provides the history and cuisine of her Muslim father and Sephardic Jewish mother who fell in love in Istanbul in the 1940’s. Beyhan is also a professional artist and musician who uses her many talents to encourage tolerance and understanding.