Reform Community Shabbat hoping for crowd in S.F.

"No tickets are necessary and parking is free," Berk stressed. "And there will also be a beautiful oneg after the service."

Noting that most affiliated Jews in the Bay Area are Reform, Berk said it's a good time to bring them together because the area's two biggest Reform synagogues, Sherith Israel and Congregational Emanu-El of San Francisco, are both celebrating their 150th anniversaries.

The service is intended to draw people from the 30 Reform synagogues in the greater Bay Area and Sacramento, as well as unaffiliated Jews.

Community Shabbat services have been held in metropolitan regions, such as Phoenix and Los Angeles, but Berk said this is the first attempt here.

"I went to the first one in L.A. five years ago and saw it as a wonderful device to help build the sense of community in terms of the movement," Berk said.

The liturgy of the service will be divided among the many rabbis and cantors. The six cantors will also be joining voices for a few songs.

"We're in for a cantorial treat," Berk said.

Stephen Richards, who retired as cantor at Congregation B'nai Tikvah in Walnut Creek on May 31, wrote a special song, "Vay' Chulu," for the service. He will sing it, accompanied by flutist Toni Dine, a member of B'nai Tikvah.

"The cantors are all very excited about this," said Richards, 65, who was at B'nai Tikvah for six years.

A huge turnout in Sherith Israel's 1,300-capacity main sanctuary could make for a very memorable night.

"I really think it's going to be impressive," Berk said. "People will see the breadth of our movement and the talent that's inherent in our movement. It's a great movement."