At The Forefront Podcast Featuring Walter J. Levy


In this episode, host Tim Mallad welcomes Walter J. Levy, a pioneer in social work and notable leader within the Dallas Jewish Community. Walter discusses his life’s journey which began in Germany and ultimately landed him in Dallas, Texas. Tim and Walter walk through the obstacles he’s overcome, achievements he’s attained and the importance of documenting, sharing and remembering one’s life story.


With his parents and younger sister, a teenaged Walter J. Levy emigrated from Koenigsberg, Germany to Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1938. He entered his American high school and did fine in some classes, but was quickly sent to the elementary school for remedial English. Clark Kent, as Superman, could leap tall buildings in a single bound but, to hear him tell his origin story, Walter progressed from 3rd grade to 12th in a single year. If that’s not super power, what is?! Walter earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophic Studies from Hendrix College and then pursued graduate study at the University of Chicago because, as Robert Maynard Hutchins, an American educational philosopher, dean of Yale Law School, and president and chancellor of the University of Chicago, said: “There is one university in this country; all the rest are schools.” Subsequently, Walter received a Masters Degree in Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, authored major studies on topics ranging from American labor to community development to the experience of aging. He married, raised a family, and is universally recognized as a midcentury pioneer in the Dallas Jewish community. Walter is a superhero, a social worker who pioneered in the field of social work with the elderly and Jewish communal service. He is, by all measures, a scholar and a visionary and his work from half a century ago benefits us to this very day.

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