Dozens of celebrities, singers and politicians came together virtually and filmed an hour-long Passover Seder on Saturday night to raise money for the CDC Foundation’s Coronavirus Emergency Response Fund.
The event was held as people around the world are holed up at home, not able to gather together for their annual religious celebrations, including the Jewish Passover, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the globe.
Actress Bette Midler, Bravo host Andy Cohen, actor Billy Porter and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) were among those participating in the virtual gathering, raising more than $260,000, according to the event’s website.
The CDC Foundation is a nonprofit created by Congress to support the work of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As is done during traditional Seder meals, the star-studded lineup took turns telling the story of the Exodus and sharing favorite Passover memories. Some guests even broke out in song.
Actor Jason Alexander, former star of “Seinfeld,” opened and closed the show.
Oscar- and Tony-winning lyricist Benj Pasek pitched the idea for the Seder to Alexander earlier this week, according to The New York Times.
“The Passover holiday is literally a story of going from confinement to freedom and from winter to spring,” Pasek told the Times, drawing a parallel to the efforts such as the fundraiser to stem the pandemic.
“At the Seder table, we ask ourselves, ‘What can you do for people who are suffering because you once suffered?’” Pasek said in the interview. “We want to amplify that message because it is one of hope and also one that asks people to give of themselves however they can.”