18 March 2016`

Published March 16, 2016 by rochellewisoff

Flowers from the Hill Thoreau

Erie Canal

The following photo is the PROMPT. Keep in mind that all photos are the property of the contributor, therefore copyrighted and require express permission to use for purposes other than Friday Fictioneers. Giving credit to whom credit is due is proper etiquette. 

Please be considerate and make an effort to stay within the suggested word count. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


                                                                                                                       ” March 1622

Tesoro Ansaldo,

My heart dies for your letters.

You used to liken me to the Jewish Queen Ester.

Do you now spurn me because I refuse to embrace your Christus? Does this make me a heretic? So be it! But never have I denied the eternal soul of man as you so accuse. I wrote only that the mind informs us and is where mortal and immortal are confined.

Thus, I confine myself to Gheto Vechio…”

 Blinded by tears, the old monk set Sarra Copia’s letter ablaze in the candle flame. “Bless me Father, for I have sinned.”









99 comments on “18 March 2016`

    • Dear Björn,

      Her poetry’s hard to find. I managed to find an article that had a few of her sonnets. The photo put me in mind of the Venetian ghetto, which is where the word itself originated. Agreed about sin. Silence can be the greatest sin of all.

      Thank you.




  • Thank you for enlightening me on the origin of the word ‘ghetto’ as well as giving an insight to a part of Italian-Jewish history that I knew nothing of. But then that is what you do, and so very well.


    • Dear Sandra,

      I’ve known for some time that the word ‘ghetto’ was not original with such places as Harlem, but had to do with the Jews. It’s only recently that I learned the history went back farther than the Pale of Settlement in Eastern Europe.
      Thank you for the encouraging words.




  • Thank you for bringing this remarkable woman out in the light Rochelle. As always, I appreciate the way you distill the essential in your story and keep the tone true to its historical context.
    This was a great prompt. We can go in so many directions! I am curious to see where FFs are going to go with it.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Emmy,

      I cherish comments such as yours. As always, I love finding women such as Sarra Copia Sullam in my research. She was way before her time and sadly passed over by historians.

      The photo, which of course was taken nowhere near Venice, is one of my favorites because it was such a lovely day.

      Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jenny,

      Your comment fills me with smiles. There are so many people in history who’ve made wonderful contributions while going virtually unnoticed. I’m always happy to find these, particularly when they’re women.😉 Glad you felt the need to Google.

      Thank you.




  • You’ve done it again, Rochelle! I will not bore you with commentary that sound exactly like the many before me. You blow me away each and every time you bring a piece of history through some picture – that has nothing to do with it but has so inspired you… Love! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dale,

      Recently a friend sent me a link to an article about the Venetian Ghetto. When I chose the photo, the article came back to mind, ie the canals and such. (Nowhere near Upstate New York). Of course I had to follow the trail which led me to Sarra Copia Sullam. A strong Jewish woman…couldn’t resist that, could I?

      I hope I haven’t bored you with my commentary. Let me be more concise. Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Wow! Once again you introduce me to amazing people. I just HAD to read to followon links you provided. She sounds like an incredible woman. Thanks so much for bringing history alive. Great stuff, Rochelle!🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • What a powerful story – both the real history, and your own historical fiction version of it! Sara Coppio Sullam sounds like a truly enlightened and original mind. Wish I could find some of her poetry!
    As always, you educate, enlighten and entertain us all with your sensitive and empathy-infused stories.

    P.S. I used to have to enlighten my students about where the word “ghetto” originated, during the time of the year when we did a study of non-fiction, fiction and poetry from the Holocaust period in history. It ALWAYS took them by surprise, but it never fails to surprise me that people don’t actually see how letters and words are put together to give away a word’s geographical origin. (I mean, the word SOUNDS Italian!)
    And I used to have to correct certain students whenever they used the term “ghetto” as a put-down, or even as a noun denoting blackness.]

    A story is forth-coming! (This has been an extremely satisfying period of poetry-writing and story-writing for me – I’ve been writing at least four posts a day for the past few days, except today – but then, today is NOT yet over, so who knows?)!


  • Beautiful and heartbreaking. What I like the most in your history stories is that you so often feature interesting and strong women who otherwise would be all too easily forgotten. It was never easy for women to leave their mark.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Peppermint Patty,
    I followed the link and read up on this gal. She would have made a good Fictioneer, but the 100 word limit might have been a challenge for her. Not everyone can write a manifesto, but it obviously rhymes with pesto, which is helpful if you’re a poet.
    Just sayin’


  • Must admit I had to read the links before I fully appreciated this one Rochelle, but having done so I felt a great sympathy for both characters. You give us only Sara’s words, but somehow also give us a strong sense of the monk.


  • Rochelle, this is quite a fascinating story. I’m curious how you find all these intriguing historical figures. Great picture as well. Is that taken in the KC area? It reminds me of a place along the Mississippi, not far from here, although I know it’s not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear David,

      If a person looks in the right places, those obscure historical figures are there for the writing. The river put me in mind of the canals of Venice. A friend and I had recently been discussing the word ghetto and how it came from the Venetian ghetto. The research trail let me to a mention of Sara Copio Sullam (spelling is different in each place). So there you go.

      As for the photo, it’s the Mohawk in Upstate New York. We took a trip there summer before last. The antique shop I snapped the photo from was a great place, too. A lot of colonial history in the area.

      Thank you.




  • I had no idea that the word ghetto was derived from Venice. I always learn something new from you, Rochelle. This is rich story with layers of meaning. So much to grasp in such few words. Masterfully done. I’m a bit late this week!


    • Dear Amy,

      I’m a bit getting late to reply to comments. Busy, crazy week. I’m glad you enjoyed and even learned something from my story. I love it when I can find and convey those historical nuggets. These days it’s a bit of a challenge.😉
      Thank you.




  • So much history and heartbreak—I read your links and you’ve touched on so much in these hundred words! I particularly enjoyed the line, ‘I wrote only that the mind informs us and is where mortal and immortal are confined.’ Lovely voice, and a fascinating character. The final image of the weeping monk burning the letter is incredibly vivid as well. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  • You’ve appealed to heart and mind this week, Rochelle. I feel for poor Sarra, as she pours out her anguish, and the links provide fascinating insights into history. Interesting that the encyclopaedia mentions that Sarra’s refutations of her accusers’ charges were sarcastic, as well as clear and logical. She sounds like a force to be reckoned with. Cheers, Margaret


  • I am very seriously late this week. Maybe, after you read my little non-fic write for this week’s prompt you’ll understand. I’ve been river watching…sigh… Anyway, I’ll be spinning through some of the stories today to read and comment. Have a good week!


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