Your First Read For Jan. 23
News RoundupThe headlines American Jews are waking up to today.

Your First Read For Jan. 23

Measles outbreak in LA; Trump and Netanyahu talk; Israel's solar plant gets the star spotlight; More...

Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu meeting in Trump Tower in New York in 2016. JTA
Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu meeting in Trump Tower in New York in 2016. JTA

A measles outbreak in Los Angeles County is centered in the Orthodox community, JTA reports. About 20 people have been infected, according to the LA County Department of Public Health.

None of the 18 people could show proof of vaccination, said the health department’s interim health officer Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser. Most of those infected were in their 20s but the infected also included young children and older adults.

The outbreak comes six months after California passed a strict vaccine law, making vaccines mandatory beginning in first grade.


President Trump on Sunday invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet in Washington next month.

The Times of Israel reported that the conversation was tendered Sunday during a conversation between the two leaders. According to Netanyahu’s office, the conversation was “very warm,” and the two leaders discussed the Iran deal, the peace process, and “other issues.”

During the conversation, Trump invited Netanyahu to Washington to meet in February. A final date will be set in the coming days, the statement said.


The JCC of Greater Washington has created a new outreach program for the estimated 10,000 Israeli-Americans who live in the Washington area, the Washington Jewish Week reports. Ronit Gudes Totah, regional director for the Israeli-American Council, said the initiative which will have its own space, is designed to encourage Israeli-Americans to become more involved in the wider Jewish community.


Actor Leonardo DiCaprio took to Instagram to post a photo of a future Israeli power plant that is expected to boast the tallest solar thermal tower in the world. “The arid landscape of Israel’s Negev Desert will look like a futuristic movie in the near future,” DiCaprio captioned the photo, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Israel is building the tallest solar thermal tower in the world above its dusty sands. Surrounded by 50,000 mirrors, the 250-meters high tower should be able to produce enough power for about 5% of Israel’s population when it is concluded.

“The sunlight will be reflected by the mirrors to a boiler at the top of the tower,” DiCaprio’s post stated. “The boiler will then be able to convert them and heat water to steam to turn the turbine in a conventional power plant.”

DiCaprio was referring to the 121-megawatt Ashalim Solar Thermal Power Station, which is under construction in the Negev. Slated to go online at the end of 2017, the project is one of the largest of its type in the world and the first concentrated solar power plant to be built in Israel.


A 31-year-old British-born immigrant to Israel who previously modeled for international fashion house Hugo Boss and recently immigrated to Israel and enlisted in the Israeli Army, will begin his military service in April, the ynetnews website reports.

James Hirshfield is the grandson of a Holocaust survivor who fled Poland at the age of 9. “I was working as a model in the U.S., and they were always reporting against Israel. I said to myself that I couldn’t walk on red carpets while my people was at war,” he said. “I felt that I had to immigrate and enlist.”

He returned to England, sorted out his immigration documentation, and got his one-way ticket to Israel. “Everybody told me that I was too old to enlist, but I insisted,” Hirshfield said. He hopes to end up as a combat soldier in a reconnaissance units.

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