Former Head of Gap-year Program at Bar-Ilan U. Exonerated in Girls’ Surveillance Case

Rabbi Tully Bryks had been forced to quit in May 2013 after installing cameras in a girls’ dorm in bid to monitor maintenance staff.

Courtesy of Rabbi Tully Bryks

The director of an Orthodox gap-year program at Bar-Ilan University, who was forced to resign last year after installing surveillance cameras in a girls’ dormitory, has been cleared of any wrongdoing by police.

Rabbi Tully Bryks had been director of the Israel Experience program, which caters to yeshiva high-school graduates from the United States.

A letter presented to Bryks by the State Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that the case against him had been dropped for “lack of guilt.” The letter stated that Bryks had being investigated by police for wiretapping and invasion of privacy.

Bryks told Haaretz he had been notified orally of these findings several months after the investigation was launched. However, because he had no written proof of his exoneration, he continued to face difficulties finding a new job, even though he had been cleared.

He then filed a suit against the State Prosecutor’s Office and the Israel Police, demanding that they provide him with a letter confirming his innocence. That letter was sent several weeks ago.

Bryks said previously that he installed the surveillance cameras in the girls’ dormitory following complaints about maintenance staff in the building. In a letter to the students’ parents at the time, he wrote, “The issues that came to my attention included allegations ranging from incompetence to inappropriate behavior directed toward participants in our program.”

He also apologized to parents for what he termed his "poor judgment."

Bryks said that since being relieved of his duties in May 2013, he had received “hundreds of unsolicited support letters from former and current students, parents, colleagues and former employers.”

Contacted by Haaretz, Rabbi Eli Menaged – who replaced Bryks as director of The Israel Experience program at Bar-Ilan University – refused to comment.

The Israel Experience program at the Ramat Gan university was launched five years ago. Although they take courses for college credit at the university, Israel Experience students live in dormitories in a separate campus at Ramat Efal, not far from the main university campus.

Bryks currently teaches at two yeshiva programs for men in Israel, Derech and Chai Israel, and two seminary programs for women, Tomer Devorah and Meorot.

Before immigrating to Israel with his family, he served as regional director of the National Council for Synagogue Youth in Florida.