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Whine and dine

Star-studded Seder raises money for CDC virus battle

Jewish celebrities sing, tell jokes and search for the afikoman in hour-long fundraiser

Thousands of people tuned in Saturday to watch Jewish celebrities (and some non-Jewish ones too) put on a virtual Passover Seder to raise money for efforts to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

The hour-long production, which was heavy on schmaltz, comedy and appeals for donations, featured Idina Menzel, Mayim Bialik, Ben Platt, Ilana Glazer, Josh Groban, Debra Messing, Henry Winkler, Billy Eichner, Andy Cohen, Harvey Fierstein and Michael Solomonov, among others.

The Seder was led by actor Jason Alexander, who schooled viewers and participants in the holiday. “There’s a smidgen of religion, but we’re keeping that part light,” he sang (yes, sang) at the start.

Also making an appearance was singer Bette Middler, who did a cameo as the prophet Elijah, who she said was “kinda like Santa Claus, but my people leave me glasses of wine instead of cookies and milk.”

And Sarah Silverman managed to find the afikomen where the sun doesn’t shine.

Buzzfeed’s Tasty YouTube channel, which hosted the Seder, raised over $300,000 for a Center for Disease Control fund for first responders working during the coronavirus outbreak, according to a YouTube tally.

The show, produced in association with Reboot, streamed here through StoryCourse and on Buzzfeed’s Tasty brand YouTube channel.

“In a time of confinement and uncertainty, a rag-tag team of Jews and non-Jewish Passover enthusiasts felt it was more important than ever to channel creative energies and gather community,” head writer Alex Edelman said in a news release announcing the Seder. “We’re thrilled to be reinterpreting the timeless story of liberation and renewal while raising money for those on the front lines enduring — and fighting — an actual plague.”

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