Samuel Holdheim (1806 – 22 August 1860) was a German rabbi and author, and one of the more extreme leaders of the early Reform Movement in Judaism. A pioneer in modern Jewish homiletics, he was often at odds with the Orthodox community.
Holdheim was born at Kempen in South Prussia in 1806. The son of rigidly traditional parents, Holdheim was early inducted into rabbinical literature according to the methods in vogue at the Talmudical yeshivas. Before he was able to speak German with even moderate correctness, he had become a master of Talmudic argumentation, and his fame had traveled far beyond the limits of his native place. This reputation secured for him employment as teacher of young boys in private families both in Kempen and in larger cities of his native province. It was while thus engaged that he began to supplement his store of rabbinical knowledge by private studies in the secular and classical branches.
Holdheim went to Prague and subsequently to Ber