OXNARD, CA — Shortly after Edi Boxstein's son arrived in Iraq in January 2006, his Army platoon was assigned to cover a 17-mile stretch of road south of Baghdad that was swarming with insurgents.

The last platoon that took the assignment lost half the squad, a bleak sign for Jonathan Boxstein's platoon.

“He said the likelihood of making it home wasn't great,” Edi Boxstein said in recalling an emotional phone conversation with her son.

Boxstein — who splits time between homes in North Hollywood and Oxnard — began poring over the news and military death announcements. Then came a dream, which she believes led her down a spiritual path to bring her son home safely and help Chabad of Oxnard Jewish Center acquire the most revered Jewish text: a torah.

On Sunday, the center will dedicate its new Liberty Torah, so named because it's dedicated to members of the military. The free event is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fisherman's Wharf in Oxnard.

A torah contains the first five books of the Old Testament, painstakingly copied on one long scroll from previous versions by a holy scribe in Israel. It boasts more than 304,000 Hebrew characters and is considered the word of God (Oral tradition)  as told to Moses on Mount Sinai.

To honor the military and others, the center asked donors to sponsor a letter, word, verse, chapter or a whole book in memory of a loved one, said Rabbi Dov Muchnik, the center's spiritual leader.

During a lifetime, Jews must commit 613 mitvoth, or good deeds. The last of those calls for writing a torah, Muchnik said.

For most people, such a task isn't practical, but by donating to the Liberty Torah “you can fulfill your obligation in writing that way,” Muchnik said.

Hundreds of people worldwide have donated to the center, contributing as little as $1 for a letter to $180 for a verse.

The center already has covered the $30,000 cost of writing the scrolls, which will be completed by a scribe during Sunday's ceremony. Excess funds will go to the center and its educational programs, Muchnik said.

Boxstein got the idea one afternoon shortly after Jonathan arrived in Iraq. She dreamed that Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the late spiritual leader of the Chabad Lubovitch movement, told her that her son would come home safely.

He also said she had an opportunity to make a difference in the world by asking everyone she knew to help dedicate the Liberty Torah.

“If I succeeded in doing this, there would be spiritual shift in the energy of the world,” Boxstein said of Schneerson's message.

Boxstein discussed it with her husband, David, and then they approached Muchnik, who agreed to tackle the project.

The center dedicated the scrolls on the eve of Sept. 11, 2006, then shipped them to Israel, where a scribe finished most of the work.

Boxstein also asked all her friends to pray for her son while he was in Iraq.

“They were there for just under 12 months,” Boxstein said. “The entire platoon came home unscathed.”

For more information, call 3824770 or visit www.LibertyTorah.com.