Virtual Seder Raises Over $1,600,000 for Coronavirus Relief

"Saturday Night Seder" featured an all-star lineup

Saturday Night Seder
"Saturday Night Seder" raised a whole lot of money for coronavirus relief.
Saturday Night Seder

On paper, this might look like a surreal juxtaposition. Celebrities like Jason Alexander, Bette Midler and Billy Porter joined forces for an online seder to raise money for the CDC Foundation‘s coronavirus relief efforts. But in practice, the event was a massive success: by late Saturday evening, Carla Herreria Russo at HuffPost reported that the event had raised $260,000.

That wasn’t where the fundraising ended, though. By Sunday afternoon, comedian Alex Edelman — one of the writers for Saturday Night Sederreported via Twitter that the fundraising tally now exceeds $1.6 million.

Over the course of an hour, the event’s guests told the story of Exodus, sang and shared memories of Passovers past. A report by Katherine Rosman at The New York Times detailed how the event was produced — an especially challenging proposition given concerns about social distancing. Rosman described the challenges of producing the event as ever-present:

Such are the dramas inherent in producing a show that relies on iPhones and dozens of performers — including Ben Platt, Billy Porter, Judith Light, Tan France, Harvey Fierstein, Idina Menzel and Sarah Silverman — who are all in different places.

It’s an impressive convergence of talent for a great cause. It’s also one that involved a lot of preparation: Rosman’s article notes that the writers and production staff were working 18-hour days in early April to pull everything off. Given the amount of money it’s raised so far, that looks like time well spent.

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