HOMETOWN HEROES. Where is Modi’in, the famous hometown of the Maccabees, the heroes of Hanukkah? Excavations conducted by authors Alexander Onn and Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah with the assistance of Yehuda Rapuano within the modern Israeli city of Modi’in may have finally located the ancient village where the Macabees lived. An aerial view of the excavated synagogue at Umm el-‘Umdan shows the Herodian-period building following restoration work undertaken by the Israel Antiquities Authority. The main hall of the synagogue measured about 32 by 40 feet and featured eight columns divided into two rows of four columns, as can be seen from the stone-slab bases (labeled C) that have survived. Excavated remains of upper (labeled A) and lower benches (labeled B) indicate that stepped benches were built along the inner face of the four walls of the building. This synagogue and other finds attest to the existence of a Jewish village at Umm el-‘Umdan during the late first century B.C.E., but what about earlier, during the time of the Maccabees?