Pritzker was born in 1953 in Oberlin, Ohio, the second of three children born to Jewish-American businessman, Robert Pritzker, and Audrey Gilbert. She has two siblings: Jennifer N. Pritzker (b. James, 1950), a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and founder of the Pritzker Military Library, and Karen Pritzker (b. 1958).
Her parents divorced in 1979. In 1981, her mother remarried Albert B. Ratner, the co-chairman of Cleveland-based real estate developer Forest City Enterprises. In 1980, her father remarried to Irene Dryburgh with whom he had two children: Matthew Pritzker and Liesel Pritzker Simmons.
Pritzker was ordained a lama in February 2005 by Tulku Sangak Rinpoche, a Tibetan meditation master and world holder of the Namchak Lineage, a branch of the Nyingma path of Tibetan Buddhism. She began studying with Rinpoche in 1995 and became fluent in Tibetan. Her journey to Buddhist practices has been documented by ABC News' Dan Harris in his podcast 10% Happier.
She is the author of The Princess Who Wept Pearls: The Feminine Journey in Fairy Tales and Why is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling? A Westerner's Introduction and Guide to Tibetan Buddhist Practice with a foreword written by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Why is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling? was a 2016 silver medal winner in the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY Awards).