Religion poll, white supremacists on campus, Jared Kushner, Venice Film Fest and 2017 Emmys

Culturally Jewish

According to a new poll released by the Public Religion Research Institute, only 43 percent of Americans today identify as white and Christian – and only 30 percent as white and Protestant. And the numbers are dropping across the nation’s religious spectrum. Among white evangelicals, the population percentage has dropped from 23 to 17 over the past decade. Only 11 percent of Americans identify as white Catholics – a drop of 5 percent. Still roughly 2 percent of the country identify as Jewish, while the other non-Christian religions (Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus) each represent about 1 percent of the population. Among Jews under the age of 30, a majority (53 percent) identify as culturally Jewish and only 47 percent as religiously Jewish. Among those 65 and older, 78 percent say they’re religious while 22 percent identify as culturally Jewish.

Read: A New Religious Transformation Grips America

Sen. Ben Cardin

Sen. Ben Cardin talks to faith leaders at The Associated about the need to refute racism and hatred while uniting communities.

A Conversation with Cardin

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) joined 65 Baltimore area faith and community leaders on Sept. 8 at the headquarters of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore for a “Conversation on Improving Community Unity.” “We have seen a rise in hate in our community and around the world,” Cardin said. “We have seen a rise in anti-Semitism, a rise in anti-Muslim activities, a rise in discriminatory policing that includes racial and religious profiling, and a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment.” In particular, Cardin criticized President Donald J. Trump for not offering strong leadership against hatred and bigotry, particularly in the aftermath of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last month. “We are not seeing the types of protections we need from our national leadership. We do not have the support of federal government leaders,” Cardin said. “Instead, the president’s comments about Charlottesville gave comfort to those who espouse hate. So we must stand up for America’s values. “The reason I called this meeting is to understand what we can do, individually and collectively. Not to just have a one-time meeting but to recognize the strength of our values.”

Read: Sen. Cardin, Faith Leaders Gather for ‘Conversation’ at the Associated

Students, Beware

According to the Anti-Defamation League, white supremacist group Identity Evropa has launched a college recruitment campaign. The group, which was founded last year, seeks to promote “white American culture.” It is engaging in a campaign called “Project Siege,” which involves posting fliers and posters on campuses promoting its goals. The ADL, which tracked a rise last school year in white supremacist activity on college campuses, has documented 12 campuses where the group has advertised in the new school year. “Identity Evropa is actively targeting campuses and their actions are extremely disruptive and unsettling to students,” said ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt. “The message is explicitly racist and anti-Semitic. They know they’re going to get a reaction when they show up on campus. Fortunately their message is near-universally rejected by students and faculty.

See: White Supremacist Group Launches Campus Recruitment Effort

Jared Kushner

Jared Kushner at Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s residence in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Kushner Back in the Hot Seat

Some of President Donald Trump’s legal team believed that his son-in-law Jared Kushner should have stepped aside before reports about his failure to disclose contacts with Russians during the transition became public this summer, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal. Although not unanimous in their conclusion that Kushner — a senior adviser to the President and the husband of his daughter, Ivanka Trump — should step down, some of the lawyers voiced their concerns to the President, the Journal reported Monday. People familiar with the matter told the WSJ that staffers had begun to prepare a statement in case Kushner did ultimately resign. Kushner did not resign, however, and remains at the White House. Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s personal lawyer, also issued a statement to the Wall Street Journal denying the report: “I never discussed with other lawyers for the President that Jared Kushner should step down from his position at the White House…and I am not aware that any other lawyers for the President made any such recommendation either.”

Read: Report: Some Trump lawyers thought Kushner should step down

Case Closed

A German court officially dropped its case against a 96-year-old former Auschwitz medic because he has dementia. The decision came after Hubert Zafke was found unfit to stand trial for his role in the murder of more than 3,600 people at the Nazi death camp. Zafke, who uses a wheelchair, was diagnosed with dementia in October 2015, which led to doubts about his ability to stand trial. Zafke was charged with being an accomplice to the murders of 3,681 people at the death camp. Prosecutors say the medic’s unit in which he served placed the Zyklon-B pesticide crystals into the gas chambers at Auschwitz, where up to 6,000 Jews were killed per day, and was “supportive of the running of this extermination camp,” according to Deutsche Welle. Zafke does not deny he served at Auschwitz, but he has said he did not see or participate in any of the murders. His attorney says he knew people were being murdered at Auschwitz but never took part in the killings. Reportedly he was on duty when Anne Frank arrived at the death camp on Sept. 5, 1944. She was transferred later to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where she died of typhoid.–JTA

The Lion Roars

Director Samuel Maoz

Director Samuel Maoz at the Venice film festival in Venice, Italy, Sept. 8, 2009. (Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images)

The Israeli film “Foxtrot” won the Silver Lion grand jury prize at the Venice Film Festival but was condemned by the state’s culture minister. The film, an allegory about people and their attempt to control their own fates, which takes a swipe at the Israeli media, is the second Venice prize for director Samuel Maoz, who won the top prize, The Golden Lion, in 2009 for his film “L

ebanon.” Following the announcement of the prize, Israel’s Culture Minister Miri Regev attacked the film, saying that “the international hug comes from self-flagellation and cooperation with the anti-Israeli narrative.” A final scene in the film shows Israeli soldiers killing and then burying an Arab family.

Additionally, “The Prince and the Dybbuk,” a documentary film about a Polish-Jewish filmmaker, won the Venice Classics Award for Best Documentary on Cinema at the festival.

See: Israeli Film ‘Foxtrot’ Takes Prize at Venice Film Festival and Documentary film ‘The Prince and the Dybbuk’ awarded at Venice Film Festival

'Wonder Woman'

Gal Gadot (Clay Enos/DC Comics)

And now for the Gal Gadot Update of the Week …

Variety is reporting that “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins is officially on board to direct the sequel. Sources say the deal makes her the highest paid female director of all time. Gal Gadot has already signed on to return in the title role. The film is slated for release on Dec. 13, 2019. So far, “Wonder Woman” has grossed $409 million at the domestic box office and $813 million worldwide.

Read: Patty Jenkins Closes Deal to Direct ‘Wonder Woman’ Sequel (EXCLUSIVE)


Emmys 2017

The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards take place Sunday at 8 p.m., hosted by Stephen Colbert. Some of the big nominees include: “Better Call Saul,” “House of Cards,” “Stranger Things” and “This is Us” in the drama category. “Black-ish,” “Master of None,” “Modern Family” and “Veep” are nominated in the comedy category. Among the actors nominated are: Evan Rachel Wood, Bob Odenkirk, Liev Schreiber, Ellie Kemper, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tracee Ellis Ross and Jeffrey Tambor. And we already know that Melissa McCarthy won for her role as Sean Spicer on “Saturday Night Live.”

See: Emmys 2017 viewers guide

J-Word of the Day:
Narishkeit (Yiddish)
Meaning: Nonsense; foolishness; a triviality
Usage: “My neighbor and his silly narishkeit are keeping us up all night long!”

Go to every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. to watch Need to Know with Editor-in-Chief Alan Feiler. Join the discussion on the week’s news and current events.

Top photo: Jared Kushner, left, and Stephen Bannon, shown Dec. 1, 2016. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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