Noam Pianko Bio

Noam Pianko is the Samuel N. Stroum Professor of Jewish Studies and Associate Professor in the Jackson School of International Studies. Pianko also directs the Samuel and Althea Stroum Center for Jewish Studies and serves as the Herbert and Lucy Pruzan Chair of Jewish Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies/Judaic Studies from Yale University in 2004 and joined the Jackson School faculty as an Assistant Professor in the fall of that year.

Pianko’s research interests include modern Jewish history, Zionism, and American Judaism. His first book, Zionism and the Roads not Taken: Rawidowicz Kaplan, Kohn (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010) uncovers the thought of three key interwar Jewish intellectuals who defined Zionism’s central mission as challenging the model of a sovereign nation-state.  His second book, tentatively titled,  Peoplehood: The Making of an American Jewish Idea (Rutgers University Press, forthcoming), traces the history of an idea that is deceptively straightforward and enduring. “Peoplehood” emerged at the beginning of the last century as an American-Jewish innovation calibrated to shape discussions of nationalism, Zionism, and American Jewish identity. In addition, Pianko has published articles in leading journals, including the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, Ab Imperio: Studies of New Imperial History, and Nationalism in the Post-Society Space, American Jewish History, and Jewish Social Studies.

As Director of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies from 2011 to the present, Pianko has expanded UW’s Jewish Studies offerings. On campus, he has overseen the development of a model online presence, the creation of a graduate fellowship program, the implementation innovative public programs, and the emergence of the Sephardic Studies program. The center is poised to continue to grow with the establishment of the Jewish Studies Forward Fund at the 40th Gala celebration in 2014.  This year, Jewish Studies will begin a curriculum review process, launch several student engagement efforts, and pursue several strategic development objectives.

Pianko serves on the Executive Board of the American Jewish Historical Society, and has been nominated for a three-year term on the American Jewish Studies board. In addition, Pianko lectures widely on topics related to Judaism, Zionism, and Technology. He has been awarded a Mellon Foundation Fellowship, a UW Technology Teaching Fellowship, a Royalty Research Award, and a Wexner Graduate Fellowship.

Noam Pianko UW Students

Talking with Students on the HUB Lawn


Noam Pianko @Home

July 2013-775

Born in New York City, Noam now lives in Seattle with his wife, Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum,  two daughters, Yona (7) and Mia (5), and son, Elisha (2). In his free time, Noam likes to drink coffee, garden, and ride his pedal assisted electric bicycle.

Photo Credits

Photo of Noam Pianko: Meryl Schenker
Hans Kohn with Beard on Home Page: Courtesy of Leo Baeck Institute
Hans Kohn Sitting at Desk: Courtesy of Leo Baeck Institute
Mordecai Kaplan on Donkey: Courtesy of Mel Scult
Simon Rawidowicz and Hebrew Class: Courtesy of Simon Rawidowicz Archive