Black walnuts emit a toxin into the soil through their roots that prevents many plants from growing in close proximity. One classmate gets tenure at a prestigious university and becomes a well-respected expert in his field - meanwhile, his college classmate - equally intelligent, hardworking and dedicated - suffers through a series of bad bosses and lay-offs, and has to start his career all over again at midlife. Generosity doesn't happen by accident. We appreciated Alan Kreider's book, the Patient Ferment of the Early Church, which presents an inspiring perspective on how the church took root and grew despite a lack of power or a cultural foundation in most of the Roman Empire. Seventy years into the occupation, prospects for a better life for Palestinians remain bleaker than ever.