Meet the Judges

Our distinguished panel of judges are recognized leaders in various fields of expertise such as technology, social entrepreneurship, arts and culture, and the Jewish community.

Judge Josh Avedon

Joshua Avedon is the co-founder and COO of Jumpstart, an incubator, think tank and catalyst for sustainable Jewish innovation. He is recognized leader in forward-thinking use of technology, viral communication and community-building strategies within the world of emerging Jewish organizations. A start-up veteran with an MBA in nonprofit management from The American Jewish University, Joshua has spent the last several years writing, teaching and advocating for innovation within the Jewish community around the globe.

Judge Aimee Bender

Aimee Bender is the author of four books of fiction, the most recent being the national bestseller The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Her short fiction has been published in Granta, GQ, Harper's, The Paris Review, Tin House and more, as well as heard on "This American Life" and "Selected Shorts". She teaches creative writing at USC.

Judge Larry Cohen

Larry Cohen is President of Glyphix Advertising. Through Glyphix he has helped launch and build numerous brands over the past 20 years. As a volunteer he has worked with Jewish community organizations and helped them upgrade their outreach and communications efforts. As a community participant, Larry serves as a Board Member of Los Angeles Federation, Executive Board Member of Valley Alliance where he is the Chair of The Conejo Valley Outreach Program and Co-Chair of the P&A Committee, is a Founder of The JBL Roundtable (Jewish Business Leaders), Board Member of Heschel West Day School and The Shalom Institute in Malibu and is a Wexner Alum.

Judge Jonathan Greenblatt

Jonathan Greenblatt is an experienced corporate executive and social entrepreneur, a member of the faculty at UCLA Anderson School of Management, and an acknowledged thought leader on corporate social responsibility, ethical branding and social entrepreneurship.  He is well known for his work in international economics and global development, particularly global water and sanitation issues and market-driven models to alleviating global poverty.

Judge Rachel Levin

Rachel Levin is a partner at Margery Tabankin and Associates, a consulting firm that helps individuals and families increase their impact through philanthropy. As part of her work, she is the Associate Director of Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation, a fund she helped establish in the fall of 1994. Rachel is a co-founder of Reboot, a think tank/idea incubator working to make Jewish life meaningful to a new generation. She is on the board of both Reboot and Southern California Grantmakers and is a member of the Mayor’s Taskforce for Summer Night Lights. Rachel lives in LA with her husband and two children.

Judge Todd Presner

Todd Presner is Professor of Germanic Languages and Comparative Literature at UCLA. He is the Co-Director of UCLA's Center for Jewish Studies and also the Chair of the new Digital Humanities program.  His research in new media studies has been awarded numerous grants, most recently from the MacArthur Foundation and Google, for a digital mapping project called "HyperCities" (http://www.hypercities.com).  He is also the author of two books on German-Jewish history: Mobile Modernity: Germans, Jews, Trains (Columbia University Press) and Muscular Judaism: The Jewish Body and the Politics of Regeneration (Routledge Press). More information can be found at: http://www.toddpresner.com

Judge David Suissa

David Suissa founded and ran an advertising agency, SuissaMiller, that was once named "Agency of the Year" by USA Today. He is now a new media and branding consultant who consults with major corporations and Jewish organizations, writes a column in the Jewish Journal and Huffington Post and is actively involved in projects to improve Israel's image throughout the world.

Judge Nina Tassler

Nina Tassler was named President, CBS Entertainment, in September 2004. She reports directly to Leslie Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corporation. In her position, Tassler oversees the Network's entertainment programming for prime time, late night and daytime, as well as program development for all genres, including comedy, drama, reality, specials, movies and mini-series. Tassler is a graduate of Boston University (Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater). She began her career assisting in all aspects of running the Roundabout Theatre Company in New York, Manhattan's only regional theater.

Judge Amelia Xann

Amelia Xann joined The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles in 2000 and oversees all program initiatives of the Family Foundation Center as well as The Foundation's grant programs. Xann serves as a philanthropic advisor to donors and family foundations on a range of issues including intergenerational philanthropy, strategic giving and leaving a legacy. Prior to joining The Foundation, Xann served as associate director of performing arts for California Center for the Arts, Escondido; was the education program manager for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association; and developed new programs for school districts throughout San Diego County and for the San Diego Foundation for Performing Arts. She served as adjunct faculty at the University of San Diego/Old Globe Theatre and Mira Costa College. Xann is a member of Grantmakers in the Arts and Southern California Grantmakers. She received her bachelor's degree from McGill University, and holds master's degrees from both Lesley College, Cambridge, Mass., and Goddard College, Plainfield, Vt.