Community members from DDI Walk

Celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month

Jewish American Heritage Month Header

This month and beyond, DDI is dedicated to highlighting our diverse workforce and showcasing the stories and influences made by our dedicated employees.

We are pleased to introduce Linda Eisman-Cadel. Linda joined the DDI family in 1991 as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) in the Children’s Residential Program and worked up to an Assistant Residential Manager, Residential Program Manager, Coordinator, Associate Director, and became the Director in 2011. “I love being at DDI because of the individuals and knowing the difference we make in each of their lives. Teaching them independent skills in applied daily living, kitchen skills, and community skills and seeing the decrease in their challenging behaviors is extremely gratifying,” said Linda.

Linda’s heritage means the world to her. She grew up and went to Temple from the age of 5 and still attends. She shared that being Jewish was hard because her other friends were mostly Catholic and celebrated Christmas and Easter, while she celebrated Chanukah and Passover and fasted for Yom Kippur. “Other people teased me, and my family always reflected that we were the ‘chosen ones.’ Learning of the Holocaust and that six million of our people were persecuted made it easier to constantly remember how important keeping the faith was,” said Linda.

She went to Hebrew school from age 5 all the way to high school. She belonged to a Jewish youth group, United Synagogue Youth. They would go on trips, Kalah (overnight retreat), pray, and take classes like Israeli dancing, learning to make yarmulkes, Jewish cooking, etc.

Linda went to a Jewish Camp, Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, and also taught Hebrew school and taught young disabled individuals to read/speak Hebrew.

“I feel it is so important to celebrate this month because as a Jewish person, there is so much pride and loss that we are not recognized as a majority. We are still discriminated against; there is still anti-Semitism in America and around the world,” said Linda. “Our biggest challenge is to NOT let what happened with the Holocaust happen again. This year, the remaining survivors of the Holocaust will most likely be gone...the world must know Jewish people are just as important as everyone else.”

We are so grateful for Linda’s dedication to the children, families, and staff of her program and her sharing her personal story with us.