| Fiction |

The Invisibles

“Neshei Hisachdus HaKehillos proudly presents the first-ever Succah Supreme Contest! Think you’ve got the fanciest succah in town? Let your friends be the judge!”

New York Times, Aug. 11, 2023
FDA Approves Invisibility Drug; Ethicists Voice Concern


WASHINGTON, D.C. — After reviewing clinical trial results, the FDA has decided to grant approval to AntiVIS, the so-called invisibility drug. Developed using transformation optics research,  the drug works by bending molecular particles in a person’s bodily field to create an optical distortion.

Ethicists immediately voiced concern, insisting that the drug should be first studied extensively for its moral ramifications before being released to the public. But the FDA, which emphasizes that AntiVIS can only be acquired with a doctor’s prescription, agreed with the arguments of civil liberties groups that an individual’s right to become invisible legally trumps society’s need to see every one of its members.

“This is a proud day for people everywhere who care about the individual’s right to live his life as he sees fit — or doesn’t see, as  the case may be,” quipped Norton Freewheeler, ACLU spokesperson.


“This has gone too far!” I crumple up the flyer and throw it on to the desk.

Breindy looks up from her computer and reaches over to uncrumple the paper. “Whaddaya got against my flyer, huh? Do you know how long it took to work those orchids into the sechach?”

I make a face. “No offense to your design. But a succah contest?!” I pick up another flyer — I’ve got a whole stack on my desk, waiting to be folded and mailed. My boss has this thing about snail mail. She says in today’s day and age, when we’re inundated with digital ads, people pay more attention to a paper they can actually hold.

I grimace as I look at the flyer. “Neshei Hisachdus HaKehillos proudly presents the first-ever Succah Supreme Contest! Think you’ve got the fanciest succah in town? Let your friends be the judge! The succah with the most votes wins! Go to Hisachdus.org/Supreme_succahs to enter and let the fun begin!”

Breindy is chuckling. “I think it’s a cute idea.”

“Cute? As if we don’t have enough financial peer pressure… why in the world would our community leadership be encouraging us to compete over our succahs?”

Breindy shrugs. “No one’s being forced to compete. And hey, at $15 per succah entry fee, it will help cover the expense of providing needy families with chicken.”

I snort. “Just watch. Once the word gets out, and everyone starts posting their pictures, we’ll all have to be part of it. And I’ll be forced to spend hundreds of dollars on ridiculous fixtures and wall hangings and accessories for my succah so my kids don’t feel deprived.”

My frown deepens as I picture my Tzivi, hands on her hips, declaring, “There’s no way in the world we’re having guests with our succah looking like this. Do you know that Shevy’s family put a fountain in theirs? And Leah has—” I can see myself interrupting her, trying to explain that this is not the way our family does things, but even in my imagination, she’s ignoring me.

“So speak up!” Breindy says. “Go tell Rebbetzin Goldenberg and Riva how you feel. They haven’t started publicizing it yet. If you feel so strongly, maybe they’ll listen to you.”

“Maybe pigs will fly,” I mutter.

I’ve been working for the Hisachdus — the organization that oversees nearly every important institution in our community — for 13 years now, and the directors have never once considered my opinion about anything.

Still, with Breindy’s encouragement, I walk down the hall and knock on Riva’s office door.

“Come in!”

Rebbetzin Goldenberg is inside talking to Riva. I feel my stomach knotting.

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 663)

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