Melbourne has often been named one of the most livable cities in the world. Lesser known, but most important, is that this “shtetl” is famous for its kindness—it’s hachnasat orchim—generously hosting and caring for its guests, and for the enormous compassion that the people have for each other.

Twenty years ago, the local kosher butcher shop, Continental Kosher, had a fire. Unfortunately, a good deal of their supplies and equipment were burned beyond use.

Yankel Unfanger, the owner of Melbourne Kosher Butcher, did not hesitate to immediately offer space in his own butcher shop so that Continental Kosher could continue its business by selling their goods out of his store. Of course, Continental Kosher was extremely grateful and took him up on his offer.


Imagine that you sell fruit. Do you want people to buy fruit from your store? Of course, you do! Would you allow another person to sell the same product in your store? Of course not! People might end up liking his quality of produce more and start buying their Golden Delicious apples from the other person.

Nevertheless, this was not the thought process of this holy Jew.

Fast-forward 20 years later.

Melbourne Kosher Butcher has a fire! It was a crazy story. It began from an electrical fire. People called to offer help. Some brought money, some even brought flowers.

Solomon’s Kosher Butcher, another butcher in town, offered help, but since they are moving locations, it wasn’t practical.

In comes Steven Lewis from Continental Kosher Butcher (who had the fire 20 years ago) to the rescue! He offered space in his shop and anything else that he could do to help his fellow Jew and former savior, Yankel Unfanger.

His offer was kindly and gratefully accepted.

Pirkei Avot, Ethics of our Fathers, teaches: “If I am only for myself, who am I?” (Avot 1:14). We can only grow in this world by giving to others.

The butchers of Melbourne not only shared their livelihood, they shared their pots and pans, space and time. They had a charitable and abundant mindset, realizing that if I give, I am G‑dly. They understood the meaning of everything coming from G‑d. The more we give of ourselves, the more G‑d will give to us, and it doesn’t take anything away from us.

We can sometimes worry that if we give to others, then we will have less for ourselves. But in truth, the more charitable we are—the more we open the flow—the channel of abundance comes our way.

Melbourne, Australia, is ahead of its time. I am guessing that when the Redemption dawns, one of these two butcher shops is where it will all begin, with these two holy men spearheading the way.