Saturday Night Seder!

Gabby Brailovskiy

This past saturday, actor and comedian Jason Alexander hosted the first “online Seder.” The event was designed to raise money for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation’s Coronavirus Emergency Response Fund and featured celebrities like Dan Levy, Andy Cohen, and Fran Drescher. 

“Saturday Night Seder” gives a telling of the Passover story through various performances and offers a sense of comedic relief during this troubling time. Alexander started the show off by singing and telling viewers, “There’s a smidgen of religion, but we’re keeping that part light.” Billy Porter helped tell the story of Passover through a song and Ben Platt sang a beautiful version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” The show followed through several different “scenes,” starting with the several rabbis’ teaching viewers about the first ever passover. It then continued to display the Seder plate, and showed different celebrities speaking about their experiences at passover dinner. The plate consists of matza, horseradish, eggs, vegetables, and a lamb shank bone. Dan Levy got some help assembling his plate from Michael Solomonev, who is the chef and co-owner of Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia. 

Andy Cohen shared his favorite part of Passover dinner being the tradition of the Afiokemn, but as he put it, the “Aficohen.” This tradition revolves around hiding a piece of matzah somewhere in the home for someone to find. He continued to make a virtual game of it for viewers, giving them clues on how they can find this piece of matzah throughout the video. Idina Menzel helped Nick Kroll in explaining the four questions of passover. These questions are: why matzah is eaten, why maror is eaten, why meat is eaten exclusively roasted, and why food is dipped twice. Debra Messing and Richard Kind told the story of passover in several increments throughout the entire livestream. Towards the end of the Passover dinner the words, “Next year in Jerusalem” are always said.  Harvey Fierstein said these words while ending the show and presenting the dessert plate. The plate includes macaroons, pineapple slices, and noodle pudding. A final performance was given by various members of the cast of this livestream as they sang, “Here’s to Next Year.” 

At such a difficult time for so many people, the world could use an hour of laughter and entertainment, especially for a holiday like Passover. Since most people were not able to see family members and have their normal dinner like in previous years, this made things feel a little closer to normal. It is a wonderful thing to see how chaos can truly bring out the strength and coming together of others.