In the June 21, 2013 J Magazine op/ed, local Conservative Rabbi Menachem Creditor bemoans the shutdown of the Conservative movement's college outreach program. He then explains why the American Conservative movement (USCJ) is declining, but declining it is. "Fewer and fewer synagogues are affiliated with USCJ..."
Elliott Abrams, in his book Faith or Fear, How Jews Can Survive in a Christian America, tackles the problem of Jewish continuity. Will Jews in America survive the ravages of assimilation and population decline?
"The results of the National Jewish Population Study of 1990, and several other major works of research, draw the portrait of a community in decline, facing a demographic disaster. The term "disaster" is no exaggeration: Jews, who once comprised 3.7 percent of the U.S. population, have fallen to about 2 percent....Demographers predict a drop of anywhere from one million to over two million in the American Jewish population in the next two generations" (pp.1-2).
At the same time, however, Orthodox Jews are increasing their numbers. Never has the Orthodox community been more vibrant, opening day schools and synagogues and demanding that marriage stay within the faith. Ironically, " the very Jewish groups who most loudly profess their anxiety about Christians are, with a frequency never before seen in all of Jewish history, marrying them" (P.99). Intermarriage is rampant because antisemitism among Christians has declined significantly over the last 80 years. At the same time much of the non-Orthodox Jewish community has abandoned Jewish ritual practice and injunctions against intermarriage. In its place the mainstream Jewish community has taken up the religion of secularism and liberalism--all religion is an anachronism and abhorrent. So the liberal Jew cares not about the Christian's faith (or his own) since it is simply a collection of old and ridiculous superstitions, and now, since she no longer demonizes his Jewish background, the two can and will marry.
Can the non-Orthodox denominations of American Jewry be saved from extinction? According to Abrams, it matters less if one is Orthodox as long as Jews use Orthodox tactics: high levels of admission to (private religious) day schools. Jewish communal groups need to lower tuition rates to make this happen. Secondly, mainstream American Judaism must increase ritual observance--more Torah study, keeping kosher, observing the Sabbath, etc. Abrams argues that one does not have to become fully Orthodox and completely observant--just ratchet up one's level of ritual commitment. If you do not believe, do it anyway for the generations that will come after you. Only then will American Jews continue to thrive.
Elliott Abrams is, of course, the neocon, responsible for much national policy in the years before the Obama administration. One should therefore not be surprised that his book is a conservative reaction to the problem of Jewish continuity. The other option, Alexander Schindler's idea to convert secular non-Jews and non Jewish spouses has not convinced the children of these unions to stay Jewish (P. 118). I recommend considering Abrams' opinions.