My name is Dr. Alex Hershaft. I was born in Poland in 1934 and survived the Warsaw Ghetto before being liberated, along with my mother, by the Allies. I organized for social justice causes in Israel and the US, worked on animal farms while in college, earned a PhD in chemistry, and ultimately decided to devote my life to animal rights and veganism, which I have done for nearly 40 years (since 1976).

I will be undertaking my 32nd annual Fast Against Slaughter this October 2nd, which you can join here .

Here is my proof, and I will be assisted if necessary by the Executive Director, Michael Webermann, of my organization Farm Animal Rights Movement. He and I will be available from 11am-3pm ET.

UPDATE 9/24, 8:10am ET: That's all! Learn more about my story by watching my lecture, "From the Warsaw Ghetto to the Fight for Animal Rights", and please consider joining me in a #FastAgainstSlaughter next week.

Comments: 3266 • Responses: 55  • Date: 

cvillemade665 karma

Wow, what a spectacular AMA. Thank you so much for doing this.

What inspired your passion for animal rights?

AHershaft1730 karma

My passion for animals is less about a particular fondness for animals (I have no companion animals, for instance) and more about what I see as our obligation to those who seem the least similar to us. As I pondered the phrase "Never again", popular in my Jewish community, I realized it means that I can never again contribute to unnecessary suffering or exploitation.

lgic97 karma

I leased a room from Dr Hershaft a couple of years ago and was able to talk with him on a few occasions - I just want you all to know that this man has nothing but integrity towards his cause and nothing but kindness towards other people; he is a very exceptional person.

To Dr. Hershaft! It's great to see all the attention your cause is getting, and I hope you and the group are doing great.

AHershaft54 karma

Well, thank you for the kind words.

Frabjous_Alice358 karma

Can you tell me about what influenced you the most in your decision to devote your life to animal rights and veganism? Obviously your Holocaust experience is probably very dominant, but what other experiences contributed to this?

AHershaft1354 karma

My first hand experience with animal farming was instrumental. I noted the many similarities between how the Nazis treated us and how we treat animals, especially those raised for food. Among these are the use of cattle cars for transport and crude wood crates for housing, the cruel treatment and deception about impending slaughter, the processing efficiency and emotional detachments of the perpetrators, and the piles of assorted body parts - mute testimonials to the victims they were once a part of.

Frabjous_Alice86 karma

Excellent answer. Can you tell me if you would support raising and eating animals if it was done in a much more humane way, universally? Obviously this is nearly impossible, but I'm just curious how you feel about eating animals in general, if they are treated "humanely."

AHershaft529 karma

I would not support that. Because those of us with access to grocery stores, fresh produce, and convenient plant-based proteins do not need to eat animals to survive, I deem nearly all consumption of animals in the Western world to be unnecessary exploitation. Putting effort into treating animals better when we can simply stop eating them strikes me as a gross misuse of time.

wildirobin344 karma

What's your story about the holocaust?

AHershaft878 karma

I was born in Warsaw, Poland, on July 1, 1934 to fairly assimilated Jewish parents Jozef and Sabina Herszaft. My mother was a mathematician, and my father was a chemist researching the properties of heavy water (used as a coolant for nuclear reactors) at University of Warsaw with his partner Jozef Rotblat.

Their research was in great demand, as Western scientists began to recognize the potential of harnessing nuclear energy, and both received visas to continue their work in the U.K. and the U.S. Rotblat left for the U.K just before Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 and eventually received the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for his subsequent opposition to nuclear weapons. My father insisted on visas for my mother and I, but those came too late.

During the war, our family was forced to move into the Warsaw Ghetto, with with my mother's parents, across the street from the infamous Pawiak prison. As the Nazis began liquidating the Ghetto in late 1942, sending inmates to the Treblinka death camp, we were able to escape to the Christian side and remain in hiding. My father was tragically caught and presumed murdered. My mother and I were liberated by the allies in the spring of 1945.

SpringBlossomTree187 karma

Have you written a biography? Because if you have I would love to read it! Thank you for doing this AMA.

AHershaft382 karma

I am considering it, when I can fully retire from daily operations of my organization. I am getting there slowly, but passing off 38 years of advocacy to my team is taking some time.

bunglejerry310 karma

I have seen animal rights activists use the word 'holocaust' to describe mass animal slaughter, and I've seen other people offended by the word usage, saying it is offensive to the victims of the real Holocaust.

Given the unique circumstances of your life, what's your opinion of this semantic debate?

TheHalfChubPrince246 karma

A Holocaust and The Holocaust aren't the same thing. The word "Holocaust" originated in the 13th century.

hol·o·caust (hl-kôst, hl-) n.

  1. Great destruction resulting in the extensive loss of life, especially by fire.

2. a. Holocaust The genocide of European Jews and others by the Nazis during World War II: "Israel emerged from the Holocaust and is defined in relation to that catastrophe" (Emanuel Litvinoff).

b. A massive slaughter: "an important document in the so-far sketchy annals of the Cambodian holocaust" (Rod Nordland).

  1. A sacrificial offering that is consumed entirely by flames.

AHershaft844 karma

The negative reaction is largely due to people's mistaken perception that the comparison values their lives equally with those of pigs and cows. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What we are doing is pointing to the commonality and pervasiveness of the oppressive mindset, which enables human beings to perpetrate unspeakable atrocities on other living beings, whether they be Jews, Bosnians, Tutsis, or animals. It's the mindset that allowed German and Polish neighbors of extermination camps to go on with their lives, just as we continue to subsidize the oppression of animals at the supermarket checkout counter.

hatalie232 karma

Hello, thank you for doing this.

As a holocaust survivor, does it bother you to see Nazis portrayed in the media as generic go-to villains, like in the Indiana Jones films or Captain America? Do you find it disrespectful, or is it a good way to remind people of the horrible things the Nazis did?

AHershaft694 karma

It does bother me, it is disrespectful, and it does remind people of a dark period in human history. The great danger is that people may think that oppression has been eradicated from the face of the earth with German surrender on May 8th 1945. Unfortunately, we've seen more recent examples in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and the Sudan. The German distinction is that the Nazi hierarchy had more time to brainwash their people into objectifying their victims and more resources to devote to exterminating them.

The virus of oppression lies dormant in each of us, looking for an opportunity to rise and blossom every time we bully a less popular classmate, when we fail to intervene in an oppressive situation, or even when we subsidize the oppressive meat industry at the supermarket checkout counter.

AHershaft64 karma

It bothers me. It is disrespectful. And it does remind mpeople of a dark period of human history.

The great danger in my mind is to think that oppression has been eradicated from the face of the earth with German surrender on May 8th of 1945. Since then, we've seen it rear its ugly head in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Sudan. The German distinction is that the Nazi hierarchy had more time and resources to brainwash their society to the objectification of their victims, so that the results of their oppression were more dramatic and memorable.

The virus of oppression lives in every one of us, looking for an opportunity to rise and flourish every time we bully a less popular classmate, fail to intervene in an oppressive situation, or subsidize the oppression of animals at the supermarket checkout counter.

Rummy00193 karma

Woah dude, 80 years old? You look extremely young. I would honestly put you at 40 years old. I'm dead serious. You age fantastically. I don't have a question, but damn man, good for you for looking so damn good at 80 years old.

AHershaft245 karma

Thank you. I'd like to believe it's due to my vegan diet and daily fitness regiment

one-pump-chump164 karma

  • Recently a 93-year old Auschwitz guard was indicted by Germany as an accessory to the murder of 300,000. What do you think of the practice of NAZI-hunting: finding octogenarians and nonagenarians and chasing them to the gates of hell?

  • One day, the last survivor of the Shoah will perish. Will the historical legacy and collective memory endure among the broad (e.g., non-historian) public? Has humanity learned anything?

  • How would you grade the state of Germany's efforts at reparations? (My mother is still not receiving her Ghetto Pension despite filling out extensive paperwork with many witnesses testifying to her slave labor)

  • Which movies and books best capture the Shoah?

Thank you for taking time to do this AMA

AHershaft282 karma

I think that the pursuit of Nazi perpetrators serves a couple of useful purposes. It reminds people of a dark era of human history that must never be repeated. It helps the German people to cleanse themselves of a sense of collective guilt.

Obviously, as our generation dies off, the memory of the Holocaust will fade, just as the memory of the Crusades and the Grand Inquisition has faded from all but encyclopedias and history books.

My own experience was best documented in the film "The Pianist."

InappropriateTA109 karma

What is your opinion on the human suffering and exploitation that is ongoing in Israel and the occupied territories?

AHershaft430 karma

Thanks for this. Last month I marched near the White House with around 20,000 other folks protesting Israel's massacre of hundreds of innocent civilians in Gaza. My sign read: "Holocaust Survivor: STOP THE MASSACRE!

ogwen99 karma

Just a quick warning, posting your private facebook page on a forum as huge as this can be risky. I took the liberty of Gyazo'ing your picture (essentially screenshotting it) so people can see your link without seeing your facebook profile. Heres the link:

Whilst I have the opportunity, thanks for all your work, in particular protesting about this issue!

AHershaft57 karma

Thanks, and I will update now.

ximfly88 karma

Hello! It's amazing of you to be doing this!

Just wanted to ask what your favorite hobby and favorite food is?

AHershaft173 karma

Thank you. My favorite hobbies center around remaining active: folk dancing, jogging, and swimming.

I have simple tastes in food (mostly smoothies and salad), but I do indulge in dairy-free ice cream, especially chocolate.

richardwrinkle84 karma

What were you doing right before you were liberated? Can words even describe what it felt like to be liberated?

AHershaft266 karma

We were liberated by the Russian army in February of 1945. People were lining the streets, cheering, and throwing flowers at the Russian tanks. It was like getting a new lease on life. I still tear up thinking about it.

sootybird73 karma

Did you ever experience any uplifting moments while living in the Ghetto or was everyday a nightmare?

AHershaft281 karma

We tried to introduce some normalcy to life by setting up schools, cultural centers, and even a symphony orchestra. Then there were acts of supreme heroism, as when Janusz Korczak, head of a local orphanage, stayed with his children, as they were lead to the gas chambers, even though he could have saved himself.

eyesrfallingn66 karma

Is there anything we as individuals can do to help your organization?

AHershaft91 karma

Finally someone asked ;)

1) If you consume animal products, we hope you will consider shifting toward a plant-based diet. is a great start.

2) If you have the means, our work can always use additional funds. We travel the country educating youngsters about factory farming and animal slaughter, and 80% of those we reach pledge to consume fewer animals. Consider a tax-deductible contribution at

3) If you are the volunteering type, you can pledge to Fast Against Slaughter ( and/or join our Compassionate Activist Network (

mysteryweapon65 karma

  • What are your thoughts on the 269 movement?

  • What are your thoughts on humanely treated chickens and cows that are kept for eggs and dairy (IE, not a factory farm) ?

  • What is the most compelling reason someone can do to get get a person interested or involved in FARM ?

Thanks for your time

AHershaft253 karma

I like the fact that the 269 movement stimulates discussion of our oppression of animals.

I don't believe that raising of animals for food can be labeled "humane." For example, chickens are still acquired from a breeder who has killed all the males by grinding them up or suffocating them in plastic garbage bags. Cows have to be impregnated to keep up their milk production and their babies are killed for veal. The cows themselves are killed at a relatively young age, when their milk production drops. There is nothing humane about that.

The most compelling reason for getting someone involved with FARM is that it places them squarely on the side of opposing oppression of innocent, sentient beings.

The_Withheld_Name57 karma

Do you have any comments on the striking lack of support for veganism in the environmental movement? Given that animal agriculture causes at least 51% of global warming emissions, becoming vegan is the simplest, but biggest thing a person could do, & yet, mainstream media & activists against global warming are virtually silent on the issue; does this environmentalist silence strike you as curious?

AHershaft39 karma

I have thought about it. You could ask the same question about other kindred movements: animal welfare, human rights, women's rights, children's rights, public health, and so on, that nearly all vegans would comfortably support. My theory is that veganism is such an obvious personal testimonial to what they are doing that they feel uncomfortable even discussing it. In other words, veganism holds up a mirror to their own personal imperfection.

petrichorE654 karma

Personally, what do you think is the biggest accomplishment in your life?

AHershaft196 karma

Being instrumental in founding the animal rights movement, which is leading the fight against all forms of oppression by calling public attention to the most oppressed innocent sentient beings on earth.

SpacedAlien50 karma

When you began, how many other people that you knew were vegans? I wouldn't think there would have been many in 1976.

AHershaft101 karma

I actually became vegetarian in 1961 in Israel, but didn't go vegan till 1981, because there was so little information about the abuse of animals and the health and environmental benefits of veganism. Veganism was virtually unknown in 1961, became somewhat known in 1976, and embraced by a respectable minority by 1981.

boyohboyoboy37 karma

Should the Palestinians -- and the descendants of those Palestinians -- who left what became Israel in 1948 be allowed to return?

AHershaft113 karma

I support a two state solution between Israel and Palestine, and an end to Israel's ongoing campaign to force Palestinians from their homes.

AHershaft57 karma

That's not really an ethical question as much as a point to be negotiated by the parties. My family had extensive property in Poland, but I was more intent on starting a new life in America. Some Palestinians may feel differently. There should be some compensation to allow them to resettle in more opportune environs.


How do you feel about the work PETA is doing?

AHershaft93 karma

Our visions of a world, where animals are no longer exploited by humans, are perfectly aligned. Our tactics don't always align. On balance, because of its superior resources and renown, PETA has been a powerful source for good.

OwnedMyself31 karma

What would you say the most significant difference between US animal rights is today and what it was like when you began fighting in the name of them?

AHershaft87 karma

33 years after our movement's launch at the first Action For Life Conference in 1981, our movement has grown much larger, more sophisticated, and more influential. In the process, it has lost some of its early idealism and solidarity. It has seen profound changes in focus, tactics, and leadership.

Prior to 1981, animal right activity in the U.S. was pretty much restricted to one book – Peter Singer’s “Animal Liberation,” a crude newsletter called “Animals Agenda,” a college student club called People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and a lone (though powerful) activist – Henry Spira. The several animal protection and anti-vivisection organizations that had been around for a while were busy curbing abuses of animal companions and animals in laboratories, rather than promoting animal rights and veganism.

The focus began to shift in the mid 1990s, when Henry Spira dropped his anti-vivisection campaigns in favor of animals raised for food. Compassion Over Killing joined the battle in 1995, and Bruce Friedrich turned PETA’s focus onto farmed animals in 1996. The Farm Sanctuary and United Poultry Concerns sanctuaries took on more of an advocacy role around that time.

With our movement’s rapid growth, dozens of dedicated volunteers were necessarily replaced by hundreds of employees in corporate offices, with varying degrees of allegiance to animal rights. This, in turn, has led to vastly reduced contact and solidarity among movement activists. Fortunately, we are seeing the most drastic progress for farmed animals than we have ever before seen.

ElementII531 karma

  1. I am an animal rights activist myself and some of us compare the animal suffering to what has happened to you at the hand of the nazis. Some think it taints the conversation badly and distracts from the issue. Is this a viable form of reasoning or should we do without?

  2. A lot of people think human rights and animal rights are separate things. Especially old socialist (IMHO) get angry when somebody argues for animal rights because they think we still need to fight social injustice/class system first. What would you tell those poeple

Thanks so much und entschuldigen Sie Bitte!

AHershaft83 karma

The analogy must be introduced very carefully, if at all. People are apt to misperceive it as us equating the value a Jewish life to that a pig's life. The truth is that the analogy has nothing to do with the identity, religion, ethnicity, or even the species of the victim and everything to do with the commonality and operation of the oppressive mindset. Oppression of other sentient living beings must be detected and eradicated wherever it rears its ugly head. One illustration that it's not about the species of the victim is that many of us would value the life of our family dog more highly than that of a human victim of Ebola in Liberia.

By focusing on the most oppressed sentient living beings on earth, we hope to blaze a path to ending all forms of oppression against all living, sentient beings, including of course, humans. It's all part of the same struggle.

birthnbabies30 karma

What is the biggest animal rights issues regarding family farms you see?

AHershaft61 karma

The term "family farm" is not very meaningful when it comes to animal abuse. Most farms, large or small, are owned by families, and small farm engage in standard abusive practices to minimize costs of production and stay in business.

Hakenkreuz-23 karma

Do you sympathize with animals facing cruelty especially due to the way you and your fellow men were treated like animals ?

What do you think of the German people now ? Any hard feelings?

AHershaft107 karma

Yes, I notice many similarities between how the Nazis treated us and how we treat animals, especially those raised for food. Among these are the use of cattle cars for transport and crude wood crates for housing, the cruel treatment and deception about impending slaughter, the processing efficiency and emotional detachments of the perpetrators, and the piles of assorted body parts - mute testimonials to the victims they were once a part of.

I do not harbor any ill will towards German people as a whole.

AHershaft63 karma

I do feel that my sensitivity to animal oppression and suffering has been heightened by my own oppression and suffering in the Holocaust.

I don't hold hard feelings toward the German people, or at least, I try not to. Their society committed unspeakable acts against innocent sentient beings because of six years of intense indoctrination by the Nazi hierarchy. Our society commits similar acts against innocent, sentient being because of indoctrination by the meat industry.

undreamt_odds23 karma

When did you move to Israel? What are your views concerning the treatment of the indigenous population?

AHershaft143 karma

I moved to Israel in the 1961 and lived for just a few years. I object to Israel forcing Palestinians out of their homes and recklessly bombing civilians.

zorbtrauts22 karma

What are your thoughts on companion animals? It seems like many animal rights organizations are moving more towards opposing what they see as the exploitation of animals as companions?

What are your thoughts on euthanasia of animals? Members of some organizations, such as PETA, appear to believe that animals are better off dead than as pets and will mass euthanize animals that might otherwise be adopted. If this is a point of view you understand, can you please explain it to me? (I've been trying to understand it, and I just can't...)

AHershaft48 karma

I don't object to sharing one's home with animal companions, provided that the animals were rescued or adopted rather than purchased.

Euthanasia is defined as mercy killing, basically concluding that life is no longer worth living. That's not a decision that one living being should make for another, unless the decider is very close to the victim. In my opinion, indiscriminate killing of homeless animals is not consistent with the concept of animal rights.

l33tSpeak18 karma

What has happened in your lifetime that you never thought you would see?

AHershaft65 karma

The great abundance of inexpensive, nutritious, and delicious vegan alternatives to meat and dairy products.

MariotheGoat17 karma

Did you witness any kindness between the people living in the Ghetto and their Captors? Were your captors as vile as reported or did a little bit of Humanity leak through here and there?

AHershaft38 karma

I did not personally experience any, and it would have been very unlikely. The individuals guarding the ghettos and concentration camps were carefully selected for their blind obedience to the Nazi hierarchy and ideology. Moreover, any act of humanity toward us would have been punished severely, perhaps including execution.

qwertyberty16 karma

Why did you ultimately decide to campaign for animal rights instead of human rights?

AHershaft137 karma

I do not necessarily campaign for animal rights instead of human rights. I attend anti-war protests and was recently interviewed by Al Jazeera about this activism. I also helped mobilize the religious freedom movement in Israel in the 1960's, including organizing the demonstration that launched League for Abolition of Religious Coercion.

However, I dedicated myself to animals because they are the most helpless and they are exploited in the largest numbers (tens of billions every year).

AHershaft15 karma

Thank you so much everyone for your stimulating questions and outpouring of support. This truly exceeded my wildest expectations.

You can learn more about my story by watching my lecture, "From the Warsaw Ghetto to the Fight for Animal Rights".

Will anyone be joining me in a #FastAgainstSlaughter next week?

Delicious_Citrus15 karma

What did you want to do with your life before you ultimately decided upon animal rights and veganism?

Thanks so much for the AMA - you're truly a fascinating person! I'm very passionate about animal rights myself, but mine stemmed from a huge love of animals; I'd never considered a viewpoint quite like yours before.

AHershaft41 karma

Before working for animal rights, I had an environmental consulting career with major DC-area firms. I had a wife, who I remain friendly with but from whom I am now divorced, and we share an adult daughter. In short - expected a mainstream suburban life putting my PhD to use.

TuningIn18 karma

Dr. Hershaft, I am a 24 year old Jew, vegan, and mechanical engineer in Washington DC. Over the past 2 years I have decided that I want to change my career to one in which I will make the most positive impact on the world. I can tell by reading this AMA that you and I have similar views on what is a "positive impact". I have been looking for environmental protection and alternative energy related work for the past year. What made you decide to change from environmental consulting to advocating for innocent animals? Which of your work do you think has had the most positive net impact on the world? Thank you!

AHershaft4 karma

Definitely, my work on behalf of animal rights and veganism, because it neatly encompasses most of my other concerns.

NoFuturist15 karma

What is the most compelling argument against veganism that you are aware of, and what is your counter-argument to it?

Thanks for the AMA, this is a treat.

AHershaft36 karma

The most compelling argument that I am aware of is that it will bankrupt the meat, egg, and dairy industries. The counter argument is that those folks are in it to make money, and their abuse and killing of animals are only incidental to that purpose. They will still make money raising vegetable crops for human consumption. A number of fast food outlets have been making a gradual switch for years.

Shezzam14 karma


welcome to Reddit, thank you so much for this AMA, it's fantastic to have the opportunity to ask one of the world's most influential people a few questions.

I was wondering a few things: do you believe that a measure of a society can be gauged on how it's most vulnerable/weakest are treated? Is this part of why you established the US animal rights movement?

I was also wondering, what you think of the work of Peter Singer?

AHershaft34 karma

Thank you for your kind words.

Absolutely. That's the concept that Gandhi popularized, and I certainly agree. That is indeed the reason I became involved with the animal rights movement.

I think that Peter Singer performed a great service by importing the concept of animal liberation and animal rights from the United Kingdom to the United States. The ideology of the U.S. animal rights movement can be definitely traced to the publication of "Animal Liberation" in 1975.

CamelCaseSpelled12 karma

Co myśli pan o dzisiejszej Polsce?

AHershaft18 karma

Dziekuje za pytanie, ale nie mam kontaktu z dzisiejsza Polska.

kingasdlkalskong9 karma

Hi. In Sweden we just had an election and one far right wing party with recent nazi history managed to get 13% votes making them the third biggest political party in Sweden. What would you say is the best way to combat threats like this when Nazi parties "dress up" and with some nice words manages to get regular persons votes?

AHershaft5 karma

The rise and success of Nazi ideology in Germany has been attributed to the German people's humiliation at the Treaty of Versailles and subsequent economic and social insecurity. I wonder what would bring this on in Sweden.

tigerk7 karma

What do you think was most important to you mentally while in the ghetto? Thank you so much for posting it is an honor to be able to ask you a question.

AHershaft13 karma

Learning to live one day at a time - always hoping that tomorrow may bring liberation.

andjok6 karma

Hi Dr. Hershaft, thanks for doing this AMA. First I just want to say that FARM seems like an awesome organization. I was on Warped Tour with another animal rights organization and talked to a lot of people who had their perspectives changed from FARM's Ten Billion Lives video truck.

As a vegan myself, I have often heard other vegans compare animal agriculture to the Holocaust, which I agree with. And according to your other answers in this thread, you were personally a victim of the Holocaust and also make this comparison, and since you were there it seems like you are licensed to make this comparison. However, if someone like me were to compare animal agriculture and slaughter to the Holocaust to somebody who eats animals, most people would find that offensive or write me off as a wacko extremist. So my question is, do you think it is appropriate or effective for anybody who wasn't a Holocaust victim to make that comparison? If so, in what manner should the comparison be made so that more people are receptive to it?

AHershaft8 karma

I generally do not recommend the Holocaust comparison as an effective tactic, because it becomes its own issue and takes away from discussing our proper relation with animals. As you point out, my past gives me a special license, but I only use it to gain special attention, as in this AMA.

johle6 karma

Do you think to slaughter in a Jewish kosher or Muslim halal way is a "humane" way to kill an animal?

AHershaft5 karma

Certainly not, but thank you for asking.

AHershaft3 karma

Slaughter exists on varying degrees of cruelty, but we oppose any raising and killing of animals for food when there are abundant plant-based options available. We see the words "humane" and "slaughter" as mutually exclusive.

dinah2596 karma

Wow what a remarkable story/life! Thank you for your AMA. What made you decide to become vegan? You are doing a "Fast Against Slaughter".... is that how you view all people who eat meat/meat by-products, or is the fast specifically concerning the unethical slaughter of animals?

AHershaft37 karma

I became vegan because I did not wish to susidize the massive oppression of animals being raised for food. The fast is being organized to call the attention of our non-vegan friends and associates to this pervasive problem. We feel that all slaughter is unethical.

TheCh3m1st5 karma

As a current graduate student in chemistry I'm curious as to what area of chemistry you got your PhD in? Also, what topic your PhD dissertation on?

AHershaft14 karma

It was in physical-inorganic chemistry, more precisely - x-ray crystallography. It was more to honor the memory of my dad. I only pursued it for a year after graduation, teaching at the Technion in Israel.

the_bob_of_marley4 karma

As a fellow Jew I respect everything you have accomplished.

What was your breakthrough moment when you thought all was lost?

AHershaft6 karma

The breakthrough moments came every hour of every day: let's just make it through the day, for freedom may come tomorrow.

Sincerus3 karma

What is the greatest piece of advice you've ever received? Thank you for doing this AMA.

AHershaft8 karma

To find a path to making this planet a better place to live on and to align my life with that pursuit.

elfwicket3 karma

I understand if this digs a little too personally and you don't feel like answering but I have two questions.

  1. Leaving the camp, did you have or maybe still have what we now know as PTSD that actively impacted your life?

  2. Do you give much thought to the larger perspective that goes into the actions of apartheid undertaken by Israel against the Palestinians and the uncomfortably similiar rhetoric used to justify their actions?

AHershaft8 karma

I suppose I did suffer from some form of PTSD initially, but eventually, I got over it and decided to lead a constructive meaningful life.

I believe that Israel's continuing expansion of settlements on Palestinian land and its unwillingness to conclude a peace treaty will lead inevitably to an apartheid state, which the family of nations will find unacceptable in light of the South African experience.

Neenunuuva3 karma

What's the best way to convince people who eat animals not to eat? I'm a vegan and find it really hard to convince people in this matter.

AHershaft4 karma

If it's about people that you have a personal relationship with, the most effective way is by personal example. If the person likes and respects you, they will want to emulate your lifestyle. Treating them to yummy vegan meat and dairy replacements helps a lot too. And, give them space to reach their own decision.

The_Read3r0 karma

Do you eat animals?

AHershaft35 karma

I do not. I became a vegetarian while still living in Israel in 1961, and a vegan at the urging of fellow animal rights advocates in 1981.