Welcome to Stories from Jewish History

A weekly newsletter exploring Jewish thinkers, events, and artifacts, famous and obscure.

Hi. I’m Tamar. I spend a lot of time in the Middle Ages, with occasional forays into early modernity. This is exactly how a person winds up with something as practical as a doctorate in Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Studies, with a focus on intellectual history. These days, I spend most of my time in the beit midrash learning halacha (Jewish law) and Gemara (Talmud), which is great, because I get to hang out with my Rishonim friends all. the. time. I like the twenty-first century, too, specifically antibiotics, education for women, and Jewish Twitter (or X now, I guess).

Why I started this newsletter

Part One: The past is never dead. It's not even past. —William Faulkner

I think Jewish history is fascinating, not as an academic exercise or as trivial pursuit, but for what it tells us about where we’ve been and how it can impact where we’re going. Knowing about the lives and dreams and challenges of the thinkers who appear “on the daf” (in the many columns of commentary surrounding classical Jewish texts)—these things help us understand Torah, and our own place in history, better.

I’ve written a bunch of academic prose, but the thing is, I think jargon is annoying and I’d rather write for everyone, not just the Ivory Tower and whoever can find a way behind the paywall. (The main newsletter is, and will remain, completely free, though I’ve added a subscription option—more on that below.)

Whether you have tons of background or none, learn in kollel or in translation, I hope this newsletter will bring the Jewish past to life for you in a new way that enriches your understanding and learning. Also—

Part Two: I’m a big nerd who loves telling (historically accurate) stories

I’m one of those people who can look at a pile of archival scraps and see a story.

Normal person:


(Okay, that’s actually Solomon Schechter in the first pic sorting through fragments from the Cairo genizah, so a fellow traveler, really.)

Also me:

Part Three: I still believe in the potential of the internet

Yeah, there’s stuff that’s not great, but not since moveable type has a technology revolutionized access to knowledge like the networking of computers across the globe. I’m here for it. I've been on the internet since Lynx and have designed online learning experiences since 2013. I think Jewish education, across the lifespan, is the key to our future and that digital media and online platforms can expand access to it in transformative ways.

Dr. Tamar Ron Marvin is a scholar, writer, educator, and Jewish content creator. I studied literature and journalism at NYU, earned my doctorate at JTS, and am now learning full-time at Yeshivat Maharat. I’ve published in various outlets and taught for a number of universities, museums, and foundations, including the Wexner Heritage Foundation. I’m an editor at The Lehrhaus, a consulting editor for Koren Publishers, and a Communications & Creative intern at The Shalom Hartman Institute. I’m also at work on my first book, tentatively titled The Worlds of the Rishonim, under the auspices of Sefaria’s Word-by-Word Women’s Writing Fellowship. I am currently based in Los Angeles, California.

Visit my Website

Join the crew

Sound like your kind of fun? (You’re my people.) The free newsletter goes out weekly on Tuesdays and the archives of the first series, on the great Rishonim, are freely accessible. (Archived posts after that series are paywalled after two weeks.) Come grab an anachronistic coffee with a Rishon. Early Achronim occasionally invited, too.

Paid subscription option

I’d be honored to have you as a subscriber if you would like to support my work, which truly makes it all possible. I hope you’ll enjoy the benefits that come along with a paid subscription:

  • A special monthly issue of the newsletter focused on the cycle of Jewish holidays in historical perspective. (I love writing these for you. If you want to get a taste of what they’re like, I’ve started sending them out with previews.) This goes out near the beginning of the Hebrew month.

  • Full access to the newsletter archive—browse away at your leisure. Newsletters get archived after two weeks.

  • Audio versions of each newsletter, read by me (sometimes in the car on my phone because the kids are being loud). Come find out about my (adorable?) inability to pronounce various words, for reasons like classical Latin pedantry and learning too much from reading books and not enough from talking to humans. #introvertproblems

  • Exclusive eBook versions of each series that you can download to your computer, Kindle, or any ePub device.

If you’d prefer to make a one-time donation in any amount, you can do that easily through my page at Ko-fi. Thank you so much.

Subscribe to Stories from Jewish History

Bringing premodern Jewish thinkers, events, and artifacts to life, from the famous to the obscure.


I'm an intellectual historian with a PhD in Medieval & Early Modern Jewish Studies and a student at Yeshivat Maharat. Some of my best friends are medieval rabbis. Want me to introduce you?