Tanya Zajdel grew up in a Hasidic family in Montreal and was excited to embark on her life as a wife and mother after marrying a charismatic rabbinical student when she was 19. It didn’t take long, though, for Tanya to realize that her marriage was not going to be as she’d expected. No matter how hard she tried to live up to the ideal of the perfect Jewish wife—supportive, modest, an upholder of shalom bayit, or “peace in the home”—her husband responded with increasingly volatile and sometimes violent behavior.

It took Tanya a long time to figure out how to do the right thing for herself and her family. This is her story, brought to us by producers Shea Shackelford and Tori Marlan. A warning to sensitive listeners: This piece includes descriptions of violence.

Our story includes music by Lisa Germano, Paul Tyan, Johnny Ripper, Circus Marcus, Will Bangs, Podington Bear, David Szesztay, and Munchen.

Tanya also writes and performs music. You’ll find a music video for her song “Painful Love” here.

If you believe that you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, you can get help. Here are a few resources:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

Domestic Shelters
A searchable database for shelters, hotlines, and other services in the United States and Canada

Shelter Safe
A list of Provincial/Territorial emergency phone crisis lines and map of shelters and services across Canada

Quebec-based domestic violence resources





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