U.S. report

NEW YORK (JTA) — A Chassidic Jew was elected with a broad margin to the city council of a predominantly Christian Iowa town.

Aaron Goldsmith, who defeated a lifelong resident of Postville in a special election to fill a vacant seat, is one of hundreds of Lubavitch Jews to move to the town in recent years, following the establishment of a kosher slaughterhouse there.

Supreme Court OKs landmark exemption

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld a California court decision that religious organizations are exempt from local landmark preservation laws.

California's 1994 law stops city and county officials from enforcing preservation laws against property owned by religious organizations if these groups request an exemption.

Opponents claimed the law gives unconstitutional preference to religion and puts secular groups at a competitive disadvantage in the real estate market.

Rabbi gets probation, fine for peddling pot

NEW YORK (JTA) — A New York rabbi was sentenced to five years' probation and a $5,000 fine last week for selling marijuana he claims was for medical purposes.

"I saw people who were dying of multiple sclerosis, AIDS, cancer," Rabbi Yitzchak Fried previously told the Village Voice. "Being a rabbi, I had to deal with it, not put my head under a rug and ignore it."

Midwest gentile coeds will honor Schindler

NEW YORK (JTA) — Non-Jewish students and faculty at a Michigan college are behind a plaque slated to be unveiled next month at the site of Oskar Schindler's factory in Poland, according to the Detroit Jewish News.

People at Albion College raised most of the $3,000 for the plaque after touring the Jewish section of Krakow, Poland, in 1999. As part of a trip to Poland for the May 12 event, the students will help restore a Jewish cemetery and will visit the Auschwitz death camp.

Trio of teens arrested in survivor shul blaze

NEW YORK (JTA) — Three teenagers were arrested for allegedly trying to burn down a Manhattan synagogue founded by Holocaust survivors.

Several hundred congregants fled into the streets after Saturday night's incident at K'Hal Adath Jeshurun.

Police said they believe the crime, which caused minor damage but no injuries, was an act of vandalism not motivated by bias.