Rabbi Ephraim Bryks (born around 1954) was accused of sexually abusing boys and girls in Canada in cases that got a lot of publicity on CBC and American media. He dodged conviction but also lost libel cases against the networks that broadcast the story. Eventually, his former synagogue in Winnipeg stripped him of his emeritus title. and removed a plaque commending his service to them.
After returning to the US he ran a yeshiva for children from the former Soviet Union.
Eventually he was cut off from pulpit positions because of his reputation. He was also induced to resign from the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) in 2003 and the Rabbinical Board of Queens (Vaad Harabonim) rather than face charges according to a report in the Jewish Week (NY) in 2010.
Nevertheless he presents himself as a rabbi, a marriage counselor and a convener of his own rabbinical court (though no other rabbis are listed by name). Stories of his attempts to use these roles to sexually exploit women are widespread on the grapevine.
Approximately ten years ago, Rabbi Yosef Blau, the senior spiritual advisor at the Yeshiva University seminary, publicly declared:
Ephrayim Bryks has become a rabbinic marriage counselor. The term marriage counselor or life coach can be used by anyone. He is not the only “rabbi” suspected of sexual abuse using one of these titles to access vulnerable individuals or couples both here and in Israel. Consulting actual professionals is expensive and unless the community publicly warns against going to these charlatans (often worse) many innocents will continue to be hurt.
Rabbi Blau confirmed to me that he still stands by that position in emails and discussions over the last 3 months.
Malky Wigder posted (6/10/18) on Facebook this description of his sex harassment and behavior after he offered her free help in dealing with a rabbinical court in connection with her divorce. With her consent I am posting her full account.
Malky Wigder’s Account
About a year after my divorce, my ex-husband summoned me to bais din [rabbinical court] (a pattern of court-bais din- rinse-repeat that lasted for about a decade). I couldn’t afford a toen [rabbinic court lawyer], which is why I had been stuck with an atrociously unfair and unenforceable separation agreement in the first place. At that time I somehow got in touch with an attorney who was doing pro bono work for women in need of a get [religious divorce]. She referred me to a toen whom she recommended highly, and indicated he sometimes reduced his fees for single moms. I reached out to him, and he said that in my case, he would waive the fee altogether. We agreed that he would pick me up from my home to appear in front of Bais Din.
His name was Ephraim Bryks.
On the day of the hearing, as I was getting into his car, out of habit I went to sit in the backseat, as I always would with an unrelated male driver. He told me he wasn’t a Chossid and I should go sit in the front. That must be normal for more modern people, I surmised, and complied (compliance was a lifelong habit I had yet to kick).
As we drove to the bais din, he said something strange. “Let’s make a deal,” he proposed. “I won’t believe anything they say about you, and you won’t believe anything they say about me.” RED FLAG RED FLAG! Well… not to naive, innocent, twenty-eight year old me. I didn’t even wonder what they might be saying about him. I knew my ex was going around saying I went to “bad places,” and when pressed he admitted it was the Lakewood Public Library. So I wasn’t too concerned. Continue reading