Friday, June 19, 2015

Defining-The Askan [Shtadlan of yester-year] v. the Askan of today

The word Askan/ Shtadlan, the title public servant, has referred to a person characterized by selfless love for the Jewish people who sacrifices himself for the public good. We grew up hearing stories of people ran across Europe meeting with kings and governments in an effort to avert terrible decrees against the Jewish people. All this was done at their own personal peril and their own expense. The early klal workers in this country wanted nothing more than to spread chinuch and literally were moser nefesh for that ideal.

Every good thing can be abused. This includes public service and community service when a trust of the people with interests other than those of the public they represent. If that happens, the people who suffer the most are all of us, all of klal yisroel, because the true askanim / shtadlanim-and there many out in there in the  trenches helping others lesheim shomayim will have lost the goodwill of the public due to the indiscretions and selflessness of the abusers.

There is a tremendous pitfall in askanus, a pitfall associated with all positions of power, especially those that are based on trust. In other words, the second an askan begins to think that it’s about me not about the cause; he is doomed to failure, because when there is a conflict between the “me” and the “cause”, the “me” is going to win and the “cause” is going to lose. That means that the little guy is going to lose.

The problem is that some Askanim become so swept up with their roles and their deeds even good deeds, that they often have a hard time separating themselves from the cause. They begin to think of themselves as the cause in itself.

If askanim want to retain the goodwill of the people and continue to help them; they must understand a few points. Firstly, it’s not about me. It’s about helping people. Secondly, an Askan is there to fill a need or a void. He’s not there to create a need and then becomes a knight in shining armor who will fix it. Don’t create a need or an organization that’s unnecessary or has already been created by someone else. If you do that, you’re not an Askan, but rather opportunist and a copycat to boot.

In addition, it goes without saying that if a person’s public service will in anyway benefit his own private business, mossad or interest, that person is not an Askan, but rather an opportunist utilizing the public to further his financial or organizational goals.

One particular form of askanus is that which exists in relationship between politicians and public servants. This is especially so when individuals with personal agendas and financial interests try to become liaisons between the frum community and politicians, taking advantage of the naiveté of so many in our tzibur.

These words should not be taken as an indictment on askanus. On the contrary, it is because we feel that altruistic public services are such an integral component of preserving the welfare of our communities and ensuring the flourishing of yidishkeit  that we must weed and out and separate the true askanim / shtadlanim, the true public servants, who selflessly give of themselves and their time for the public with little thought for recognition and remuneration, from the charlatans and  opportunist who sully the ideal of askanus and sully the name of our  communities in an unforgettable, unforgivable  way.

As a prominent Rebebetzin "in the know" said "I never saw an (ex)askan, without full pockets".

Based on an article by R' A. Birenbaum


Anonymous said...

can you define the meaning of
1)eihr hatorah.
2) rosh yeshiva.
3) daas torah.

4) noted askan.
5) behind the scene askan.
6)protekzya askan.

the answer is ask Benjamin franklin.

Lakewood Capital of "Askanim" said...

we all have Lakewood to thank for the "Modern Day Asken"
basically a person with a lot of time on his hand who cannot learn all day however at the same time does not want to work a 9-5 job as he feels it is benieth his dignity to get a regular job and work so he creates some orginization so that he can Hock around and go fundraising to pay his salary and walk around like a Shaina Klei Kodesh Yid

and than there is the Askan with to much Money who is also bored with to much time on his hand and is in need of some Power and projects to keep him busy and entertained.

Anonymous said...

yeder einer hut a deah

Anonymous said...

VIDEO!! LCSW members stealing? gas from Lakewood taxpayers. judge for yourself …

Anonymous said...

VIDEO!! LCSW members stealing? gas from Lakewood taxpayers. judge for yourself …

Anonymous said...

Please define the Noted Asken,