If you were at work in Los Angeles last week, chances are you overheard some
lively discussions, perhaps some Israeli accents. This buzzing in hallways, screening rooms and
studios across L.A. was the sound of Nina Tassler’s mitzvah. The CBS Entertainment president
spearheaded programming for last week’s five-day Master Class, an annual event bringing together
Israeli and American film and TV pros for intimate seminars and meetings with high-level “Masters”
in the entertainment business. Tassler cochairs “Master Class” with Danny Sussman, a top talent
manager with Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
Jerry Bruckheimer, JJ Abrams, Peter Roth, Dana Walden, Gary Newman, Chuck Lorre and B&C’s own
Editor-in-Chief Ben Grossman were just a few of the figures Tassler and Sussman teed up to meet with the 26 Master Class participants
(14 Israelis, 12 Angelenos). Now in its 13th year, the program is usually conducted in Israel. The presenting organization,
the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, brought the action to L.A. this year upon its 100th anniversary. The idea
provide professional networking opportunities, strengthen connections between Hollywood and Israel and encourage
sense of shared Jewish identity in both communities, according to the Federation.
Tassler got involved after hosting a visit to CBS the last time the class was held in L.A., in 2007. “It was one of those defining
moments,” Tassler said between sessions last week. “Somebody came up to me afterward and said, ‘You should come to
Israel [to be a Master].’ At first you think, ‘No, no, no, I can’t.’ But in that moment I said, ‘Yes, I want to go. And I’m gonna
I went with my husband and kids.”
The trip took place right around the time Tassler was bat mitzvahed as an adult. The CBS executive soon took on the role of
chairman of the Jewish Federation’s entertainment division. “My husband likes to say my Jewishness was taking off,” Tassler says.
Providing the platform for others is fulfilling in itself, but Tassler insists there’s more in it for her. “This is as much a learning
opportunity for me as anybody else,” she said. “And for the Jewish part of me, I think it’s important for us to support
artists and creators and filmmakers in Israel.”