Several years ago, after research, field trips, & my wife’s assistance, we discovered the picture was taken in Jerusalem on Lag B’Omer, April 30, 1918. The children and their teachers were returning to the Old City after visiting the Tomb of the High Priest Simon the Righteous (Shimon Hatzadik). They were walking south on Nablus Road which ran between the Old City and Mount Scopus. From the shadows, it can be ascertained that the hour was early afternoon; the girls started their Spring-day hike with sweaters, and most had removed them.
The detective story of how we determined the time and place of the picture can be viewed here.
In the Age of Corona, this Picture Has Much More Significance
Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day between Passover and Shavuot, has deep Kabbalistic origins, dating back thousands of years. From Passover until Lag B’Omer, the period is commemorated as a time of mourning, and Jewish weddings or public celebrations are not held. Lag B’Omer marks the end of a national plague that struck Eretz Yisrael and killed 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva’s students in the first century of the Common Era. For Jewish children, the day is reserved for school outings and nature walks – to this day.
In April 1918, these children were experiencing the end of the multiple plagues of Ottoman control, starvation, cholera, typhoid, malaria.