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How are you making your Purim joyous this year?

"There is no greater joy than the joy of gladdening the hearts of the poor." (Rambam Megilla 2)

Dear Friend,

Tzvi W. loves Purim. He loves the thrill and the joy. And he loves to watch the parade of basket-hefting kings, animals, and whatnot that makes him feel like a child again. But this year, Tzvi is afraid he won't enjoy Purim as much as usual. That's because he knows that even before the last hamentasch has been swallowed, he'll be faced with paying the bills.

Tzvi lost his job seven months ago. This year, his children won't have store bought costumes for Purim. They plan to dress up as a band of beggars. It's a poor excuse for a joke. And although the kids will sport painted wrinkles on their brows, the lines on their parents' faces are real. Those lines are only a sign of the despair they face when they barely manage to put chicken on the Shabbos table. Or when the mailman brings yet another disconnect notice. Or an eviction letter.

Tzvi is only one of the hundreds who turned to Ezras Yisroel for help. The number of families approaching us increases each year, especially before Purim. That's because so many families count on Ezras Yisroel's matanos l'evyonim campaign.

Ezras Yisroel helps the poor all year round. But on Purim, we dispense huge sums to hundreds of poor souls. Each of those people is qualified to receive matanos l'evyonim. That's an important point, because in order to fulfill the mitzva of matanos l'evyonim, you must give tzeddakah to a true evyon, a really poor person. And it is quite difficult to know who qualifies. That means that you may be giving significant amounts to tzeddakah without fulfilling the mitzva of matanos l'evyonim!

Ezras Yisroel can help. Send your matanos l'evyonim funds to Ezras Yisroel, and we'll guarantee that the money will reach true evyonim. And because we distribute the money on Purim, you are fulfilling your obligation completely.

How can you be so sure that we help only really poor people? Because every recipient of Ezras Yisroel funds is referred by a responsible rav. Ezras Yisroel is endorsed by today's leading rabbonim. In fact, Rav Avraham Y. Pam zatzal was one of our most ardent supporters. Rav Pam was extremely involved in many cases, and actually took part in the distribution of funds. Usually, the poor never knew where their help came from!

Ezras Yisroel volunteers are extremely discreet - and creative - in their distribution. Recipients often find themselves holding an envelope without quite knowing how it reached them. But you'll know one thing - that a poor person got your matanos l'evyonim on Purim.

When you choose Ezras Yisroel to dispense your Purim tzeddakah money, you know that your entire donation will go to the poor. It won't ever go for administrative costs. Ezras Yisroel is a volunteer organization. Even basic office supplies and postage are covered by independent donors. That means that every cent of your donation will be well spent. Not on postage; not on printing costs. Only on the poor people you wish to help. Only on the mitzva of matanos l'evyonim.

How much should a person send to the poor on Purim? We can't tell you an exact amount. But we can quote the Rambam, who says (Megillah 2) that it is better to spend more on gifts to the poor than on the Purim meal or mishloach manos.

"There is no greater joy than the joy of gladdening the hearts of the poor, the orphaned, the widowed, and the converts, for he who gladdens their hearts is likened to the shechinah," says the Rambam.

The best way to make your Purim mitzvos more meaningful is to increase your matanos l'evyonim. You'll also be making Purim more joyous - for yourself, and for the people who get your gift.

So send your tax-deductible contribution to Ezras Yisroel today. We'll make sure it reaches the poor on Purim. In the merit of your generosity, may Hashem extend His open hand to you and yours, and bless His Nation with peace and prosperity.

P.S. The mitzva of matanos l'evyonim must be performed on Purim, and Ezras Yisroel volunteers distribute your gifts to the poor on the holiday. Although we will accept phone or fax orders until 4:00 PM on Purim, we appreciate your early response, so that our rabbinical advisers can make decisions on distribution sooner. Please CLICK HERE to generously donate.