Rachel Neis is an associate professor appointed in History and Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, and holds the Jean and Samuel Frankel Chair in Rabbinics. Questions related to the body and the senses, materiality and ritual space, the formations of religious identity and practice, and the boundaries between humans and other entities (animals, objects, images) drive her work. Dr. Neis had written about visuality, prayer, pilgrimage, icon–veneration and ‘mystical texts,’ and toilet habits. Her first book The Sense of Sight in Rabbinic Culture: Jewish Ways of Seeing in Late Antiquity (Cambridge, 2013) won the Salon Baron Prize for best first book in Jewish Studies.
Catherine Michael Chin is a writer, historian, and puppet artist based in Northern California. He has published widely on topics in ancient religion and is interested in translating ancient imagined worlds into contemporary abstract puppet theatre. His work has appeared in The Massachusetts Review, The Marginalia Review of Books, and most recently at Dixon Place theatre’s Puppet BloK festival.