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Alia dreams of Aliyah
While on a visit in 2000, to Los Lunas, New Mexico, a Christian man informed me, "Did you know that your first name (Alia) sounds just like what Jews say to describe their 'return' (Aliyah) to the Holy Land."
Well, that's all it took to flame the eternal spark of interest and curiosity in me to seek out more information on exactly what that man meant when he pronounced and interpreted the meaning of my unbeknown, at the time, Jewish legal first name. After that experience, the discovery journey of my name sake and maternal/paternal surnames origins and their meanings took me to far away places, which I would have never imagined that I would travel.
On another visit, but this time to the Mexican State of Durango (my deceased biological father's native Mexican birth state), I was miraculously introduced to my father's maternal uncle, Alfonso Azadala Sharara-Cordova, who explained that his Lebanese father migrated to the State of Durango before the start of World War II and, then, met and married his mother, Maria de la Luz Cordova-Ortega. He said that his Lebanese father was from a southern Lebanese village called Bint Jebail (Daughter of The Mountain [of the Levant] in Arabic).
My father's brother explained that we are descended from King David, paternally speaking. Honestly, I thought to myself, "How conceited to say such a thing! How could we possibly descend from King David?"
When I met my would be Jewish mentor, Sonya Loya, in 2007, I never imagined receiving the answer to the aforesaid question.
At one of the annual Bnai Anusim conferences she co-chaired with Rabbi Stephen Leon in El Paso, TX, I remember hearing about forced conversions of Jews to Islam.
The thought occurred to me, "My father's Lebanese maternal great-grandfather (Mohammed Ali Siddiq Sharara-Morat) was a practicing Shiate Muslim, so, therefore he must not have stated (for conceit) the oral history of being descended from King David because his ancestors were more than likely forcibly converted from Judaism to Islam."
Several years later, I was reconnected to my father's father's household members, one of whom, informed me that my father's father, Angel Garcia-Sanchez, served the Mexican State of Durango for decades, at the level equivalent to a U.S State commissioner, because he descended from the founding family of Early Spanish colonizers who founded the Mexican State of Durango.
Albeit, the proof of a Jewish family past was slowly emerging, I still felt an overwhelming spiritual calling to become a "Jew by Choice." So, my husband, children and I made a formal 'return' conversion to Judaism in 2012. After our conversion, my deceased biological father's living brother, Angel David Garcia-Sharara, allowed my husband and I to pay for and send his DNA sample to FamilyTreeDNA for Haplogroup testing. The results revealed that my father's mother's maternal line is of Native American ancestry and, according to Dr. Bennett Greenspan (founder and president of FamilyTreeDNA), we are "paternally genetically linked at the 37 marker line (through my father's father's line) to a man in Israel by the name of Boaz Jacobson, whom also submitted his DNA for testing, via a "Most Common Recent Ancestor (MCRA)."
Making a full-circle 'return' to 'reconnect' to the root of Torah, ancestrally-speaking over several generations of practicing Catholics, Christians and Muslims in my paternal and maternal lineages, in the lifetime of my family and I to Judaism, is truly a miracle within itself and one of which I'm so grateful to The Creator for! Today, I can say, with so much joy in my heart, that the meaning of my legal first name (given to me by my deceased biological father) has carried me in my life journey to ascend (Alia-Aliyah) spiritually, Biblically speaking, and G-d willing one day, physically, as dual citizens (new olim) in the State of Israel.