Dr. Hannah S. Pressman, a scholar of Hebrew literature and Jewish culture, has published widely for general and academic audiences. She is affiliated faculty with the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Washington. As the founding director of the Jewish Studies Graduate Fellowship at UW, she spent five years teaching interdisciplinary cohorts of graduate students about the methodologies and history of Jewish Studies field. Mentorship of emerging scholars and writers, especially women, is a cause very dear to her heart.

Dr. Pressman focuses her writing on Jewish languages, gender, and religion. She has contributed to volumes such as Choosing Yiddish: New Frontiers of Language and Culture, of which she was also co-editor (Wayne State University Press, 2013); Jewish Rhetorics: History, Theory, Practice (Brandeis University Press, 2014); What We Talk about When We Talk about Hebrew (And What It Means to Americans) (University of Washington Press, 2018); and The New Jewish Canon: Ideas & Debates, 1980-2015 (Academic Studies Press, 2020). Her essays exploring Sephardic genealogy have appeared in Tablet MagazineThe ForwardHadassah Magazine, and the Stroum Center’s online journal. Her new essay about crafting an archival Sephardic memoir appears in Sephardic Trajectories: Archives, Objects, and the Ottoman Jewish Past in the United States, published by Koç University Press and the University of Chicago Press in 2021.

A mural depicting the founding generation of modern Hebrew writers in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood of Tel Aviv, Israel.

Dr. Pressman has extensive experience at the intersection of communications and higher education. As the first Communications Director at the Stroum Center, she oversaw the exponential growth of the leading academic website and e-journal at jewishstudies.washington.edu. Her portfolio in this role included writing accessible scholarly articles for a broad global audience online; guiding faculty and students on developing digital research projects; implementing strategic communications such as annual impact reports and social media campaigns; and interfacing with UW media relations offices, as well as national press outlets, to effectively showcase Stroum Center faculty, students, and resources.

She received her Ph.D. in modern Hebrew literature from New York University, where her dissertation, “Confessional Texts and Contexts: Studies in Israeli Literary Autobiography,” was supervised by Dr. Yael S. Feldman. Besides the memoir genre, her scholarly interests include translation studies, Jewish language philosophy, and religious-secular dynamics. Dr. Pressman was a Wexner Graduate Fellow and MacCracken Fellow at NYU, the Vivian Lefsky Hort Memorial Fellow for Yiddish Literature at YIVO, and the Hazel D. Cole Postdoctoral Fellow in Jewish Studies at UW. She has received grants from the Foundation for Jewish Culture, Schusterman Family Philanthropies, the Association for Israel Studies, and the National Association of Professors of Hebrew.

Dr. Pressman holding a picture of her maternal great-grandmother in La Juderia, the Jewish quarter on the island of Rhodes.

Dr. Pressman is currently at work on Galante’s Daughter: A Sephardic Family Journey, a multi-vocal memoir which connects the search for her family’s roots to contemporary American Jewish identity. This work, the culmination of two decades of research, brings to light the untold stories of Sephardic women, particularly within the Alliance Israélite Universelle and the African colonial milieu. The manuscript of Galante’s Daughter won a 2020 Research Award from the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute.

Dr. Pressman recently became the Director of Education and Engagement for the Jewish Language Project, an initiative based at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In this role she promotes research on, awareness about, and engagement surrounding the many languages spoken and written by Jews throughout history and around the world. She is also a literary consultant and writer for PJ Library, a project of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

Dr. Pressman lives in Seattle with her husband and three children. She is available on a limited basis for scholar-in-residence programs (conducted virtually), as a consultant for Jewish book groups, and as an editorial advisor. Please use the contact form to get in touch.