U.S. report

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday passed a resolution that condemns the "anti-democratic, racist and xenophobic" views expressed by Jorg Haider and his far-right Freedom Party.

It also calls upon the Clinton administration to continue its scrutiny of the new Austrian government.

The resolution is necessary even though Haider recently resigned from the party because Haider is a force within the government and is governor of one of Austria's most populous provinces, said Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), who sponsored the resolution.

FBI probes theft of synagogue funds

PHILADELPHIA (JTA) — The FBI joined in an investigation of alleged embezzlement from a Philadelphia-area synagogue.

According to officials at Temple Sinai in Dresher, Pa., at least $700,000 was taken from the synagogue during a seven-year period and diverted to an account reportedly controlled by Barry Wilf, the synagogue's longtime executive director.

The synagogue's bookkeeper, Betty Shusterman, was also fired in connection with the alleged embezzlement.

Matzah factory burns to the ground in N.Y.

NEW YORK (JTA) — A matzah factory in Brooklyn burned to the ground just three weeks before the start of Passover.

But firefighters and workers managed to save several pallets of matzot before the blaze destroyed the factory, which provides unleavened bread to the Belz Chasidim. The fire was caused by a blocked stove flue, according to fire officials.

Sears to oblige observant workers

NEW YORK (JTA) — U.S. Jewish groups have welcomed a court agreement under which Sears said it would accommodate the religious needs of workers who had objected to working on the Sabbath.

The case was sparked after an Orthodox Jew complained the company refused to hire him because he wouldn't work Saturdays. The Orthodox Union praised the agreement, saying it draws "attention to the lack of religious accommodation in American workplaces."