Raised in the Jewish faith, he attended Temple Beth Am in Philadelphia. Pressman graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1940, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. He attended the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and was ordained as a conservative rabbi in 1945.
He served as the rabbi of Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles, California from 1950 to 1985. He penned a weekly column in The Beverly Hills Courier from 2004 to 2015. Pressman served as rabbi at Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens, New York City, from 1944 to 1946.
At the time, the senior rabbi was Jacob Kohn (or Cohen). In 1950, he became rabbi of the Olympic Jewish Center. It was renamed Temple Beth Am in 1957.
Pressman established Beth Am Manor, a low-rent residence for senior citizens as well as the Rabbi Jacob Pressman Academy, a combination of nursery, elementary and secondary schools connected to the synagogue. Pressman spearheaded the 'Save Soviet Jewry' campaign in 1964, leading to greater awareness of the plight of the Jews in the Soviet Union. This in turn led to more immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel.
Moreover, he joined Martin Luther King, Jr. in his protest march in Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. Pressman served as President of the Western Region of the Rabbanical Assembly and Chairman of its convention in 1979. Additionally, he served as President of the Board of Rabbis of Los Angeles.
He served on the Executive Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. He was also Chair of the Los Angeles campaign for Israel Bonds. Moreover, he was involved with the United Jewish Appeal.
Pressman spearheaded the establishment of Camp Ramah in California, a summer camp in Ojai. He served as Chairman of the Los Angeles Zionist Youth Commission. He played a critical role in the founding of the Los Angeles Hebrew High School.
He was a recipient of the 2004 Rabbi Simon Greenberg Award from AJU. Pressman was the founding President of the Maple Counseling Centre, a non-profit organization which offers free counseling sessions, based in Beverly Hills, California. He has written a weekly column in The Beverly Hills Courier since 2004. He has written two books.
Pressman died in Los Angeles on October 1, 2015. He was ninety-five years old. His funeral was held at Temple Beth Am, and he was buried at the Eden Memorial Park Cemetery, a Jewish cemetery in Mission Hills, Los Angeles.
(Book by Pressman, Jacob)
Member Rabbinical Assembly Western Region (president 1954-1956), Board Rabbis Southern California (president 1958-1961).
Married Marjorie Steinberg, June 14, 1942. Children: Daniel Joseph, Joel David, Judith Sharon.