Chitra Ragavan

Braulio Rocha

Ep. 59 —  A Portuguese Roman Catholic janitor and immigrant to Canada becomes the “Bar Mitzvah Photography king” of Montreal / Braulio Rocha, Photographer & Co-Founder, Rocha Studio.

I thought it would be so nice to start the New Year with a heartwarming success story. This is the rags-to-riches journey of a Portuguese Roman Catholic immigrant to Canada named Braulio Rocha, who, just five years ago, was a humble janitor at the majestic Shaar Hashomayim Ashkananze synagogue, known affectionately to its congregants as “The Shaar.” But one day, Rocha, an amateur photographer, seized a rare opportunity to trade in his mop for a camera to shoot a bris when the real photographer was a no-show. It was one of the most consequential moments of a life filled with adversity. That bris led to other brises and bar mitzvahs. And today, Rocha has become the “Bar Mitzvah photography king of Montreal!” as proclaimed in this lovely recent New York Times profile. 

This is a story that transcends geography, culture, language, and religion. It’s a story of hope and above all, about second chances. I hope you enjoy it!  

And if you like this episode, you may enjoy my other photography episodes both on this podcast, When It Mattered, and my technology podcast, Techtopia, listed below.


When It Mattered

Ep. 35 — A war photographer confronts her own mortality as she bears witness to the world’s worst wars / Lynsey Addario, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist.

Ep. 12 — A brain cancer diagnosis leads a 27-year old mental health worker to use photography to help parents of critically ill children reconcile with death and dying /  Caroline Catlin, writer, photographer.


Ep. 18 — A War Photographer Assesses the Ramifications of the U.S. Pullout of Afghanistan / Lynsey Addario, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photojournalist.