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In an era when Yidden had few rights, a Jewess known as Madame Kaulla became one of the richest and most powerful women. Serving as a “Hofjude,” a court Jew, Madame Kaulla amassed a legendary fortune, using the money to support her husband in full-time learning, raise six children, and help her needy Jewish brethren.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
In 1739, in a small town in southwestGermany, Yitzhak and Rifka (Wasserman) Raphael celebrated the birth of their first child, a baby girl named Chaile, or Karoline in German. In an era when Jews had few rights, the Raphaels likely never expected that their bright daughter would grow up to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful women inGermany.
Chaile — or Madame Kaulla, as she become known — served as a treasurer at the royalWurttembergcourt while raising a family and supporting a husband who sat and learned Torah all day. Intelligent and innovative, Madame Kaulla’s financial pursuits weren’t limited to the high court. She led the trading house Kaulla in Stuttgart; she headed the Kaulla firm (which served as the permanent creditor of the Prince of Hohenzollern in Hechingen); and, together with her brother Yaakov (Jakob), she established the Royal Wurttemberg Bank, which later evolved into the renowned Deutsche Bank.
No matter how wealthy Madame Kaulla became, and no matter how frequently she associated with upper nobility, her home served as Hashem’s abode. When she lived in Hechingen and later inStuttgart, she established a shul in each of her homes. She used her legendary fortune to help those in need.
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