SAN FRANCISCO () — Ben Levinson, 28, was born and raised in St. Louis. He returned after college to find most of the Jewish friends he grew up with had moved away.

That’s not unusual: St. Louis is one of many U.S. cities with shrinking Jewish populations and, as in other cities, the young are the first to leave.

“There are no hard figures, but there’s a tendency to lose young Jews from St. Louis,” said Meg Crane, senior writer at the local Jewish federation.

The last Jewish population study of the city, in the mid-1990s, counted 54,000 Jews.

Levinson thought about leaving, too, he told JTA.

“Then I started to get involved with Moishe House,” he said. “That helped keep me here.”