A Psalm for Pittsburgh – Esa Einai (Psalm 121) (2023)


A Psalm for Pittsburgh – Esa Einai (Psalm 121) was commissioned by Tree of Life Congregation, Pittsburgh, in memory of the eleven victims of the October 27, 2018 shooting. Rabbi/Hazzan Jeffrey Myers of Tree of Life requested a setting of Psalm 121, with its famous opening line of “I lift my eyes to the mountains – from where will my help come?” This Psalm was for him a vital link in seeking solace, and is a way to focus both on those who died and on the survivors.

In the piece, the tenor solo begins tentatively, attempting to find music and words that will allow for expression of the depth of emotional loss, and the attempt to begin the process of healing. The children’s chorus respond with words and music of comfort and hope—and eventually the soloist, supported by the chorus, begins to find a way forward to renewed faith and hope for the future.

A Psalm for Pittsburgh received its premiere at an interfaith concert in Pittsburgh in November 2023 commemorating the fifth anniversary of the tragedy. Rabbi/Hazzan Jeffrey Myers was the tenor soloist, with The Pittsburgh Youth Chorus, conducted by Shawn Funk.



Text and Translation

(Psalm 121, verses 1-2, 8)

Esa einai el heharim – me’ayin yavo ezri?
Ezri me’im Adonai,
oseh shamayim va’aretz.

Adonai yishmor tzetecha uvo’echa me’ata v’ad olam.

I lift my eyes to the mountains – from where will my help come?
My help is from Adonai,
maker of the heavens and the earth.

Adonai will watch over your coming and your going from this time forth, and ever and ever.


Premiere performed by Rabbi/Cantor Jeffrey Myers and the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus, November 8, 2023 at University of Pittsburgh Alumni Hall – Anderson Auditorium