ONCE A JANITOR, NOW BAR MITZVAH PHOTOGRAPHY KING
With a touch of chutzpah and “a little help from God,” Braulio Rocha, a Roman Catholic Portuguese immigrant, traded in his mop for a camera.
Braulio Rocha, a Portuguese janitor at a Montreal synagogue, was about to begin his daily floor mopping routine some years ago when he heard a frantic voice: The photographer assigned to shoot a bris, a ritual circumcision, hadn’t shown up, and the baby’s grandmother was panicking.
Mr. Rocha, an amateur photographer, had recently arrived in Canada from Madeira with $50 in savings and a beat-up old Canon camera that he always carried with him in his car. Wearing his gray and blue polyester janitor’s uniform, a long key ring dangling from his pocket, he recalls, he summoned up the courage and asked the forlorn grandmother if he could shoot the baby’s bris — for free.
She agreed, and a new career was born.
Brisses soon led to bar mitzvahs, and six years later, Mr. Rocha, a 45-year-old Roman Catholic, has been called the bar mitzvah photography king of Montreal by rabbis and clients alike.
Mr. Rocha, who had never met a Jew before...read more