ANCHORAGE -- When Dan Bloom wrote his story of Jesus for Jewish children, published just in time for Christmas, he worried how the Christian community would respond to his no-holds-barred, down-to-earth account.

What he did not anticipate was the storm of protest from the Orthodox Jewish community, which accused him and his New York publisher of conspiring with Christian missionaries and subverting Jewish children to the "Jews for Jesus" movement.

From Juneau, Alaska, where Bloom lives, the battle that has arisen over his book seems as far away in reality as it is geographically. "They asked me why I would want to write about Jesus," Bloom said of his critics. "They even asked why, if I'm a Jew, I live in Alaska."

For Bloom, the experience has been a troubling, head-scratching surprise. For his publisher, it has been a very real headache. "I've been known as a publisher of controversial books for many years, and this is the book that has caused the most uprising," said Esther Cohen, whose Adama Books issued "The Man From Galilee."

The $9.95 hardback, distributed nationwide, is an account of Jesus as a Jew, written for Jewish children who are integrated into American society and cannot help hearing about Jesus.

Bloom said the idea for the book was planted when an 8-year-old girl who read his earlier Hanukah book "Bubbie and Zadie {Yiddish for grandmother and grandfather} Come to My House" responded to that book's invitation to write the two imaginary Jewish characters. In her letter, the girl asked what to do about boys on her school bus who taunted her, saying Jews killed Jesus.

Bloom, 38, said that sort of thing happened to him growing up in Springfield, Mass. So when he got the girl's letter two years ago, he decided to write "The Man From Galilee" because no one in the Jewish community discussed Jesus, and children obviously needed some help along those lines.

What he discovered, Bloom said, is that Jews still do not want to talk about Jesus, and the mere mention of the name stirs hostility.

"Warning! Some Books Could Be Dangerous to Your Child's Religious Health," read a headline in The Jewish Press in a recent edition of the Brooklyn weekly published before last month's Jewish Heritage Book Festival in New York.

Cohen said the Orthodox Jewish community sought to have Bloom's book excluded from the book fair. When Cohen and fair sponsors refused, things turned ugly.

"They got really nasty," Cohen said. "They asked me if I'd publish {Hitler's} 'Mein Kampf.' "

Some Jewish stores not only refused to carry Bloom's book, but also cut all ties with the publisher, said Bennett Shelkowitz, sales representative for Adama, which has 100 books in its catalogue, perhaps 60 of them Judaica.

"One store returned everything because we put out this book," he said. Another proprietor asked, "Why did we, as a Jewish publisher, have to have it in our list? It's just not done."

What is not done, Shelkowitz explained, is acknowledging -- even mentioning -- Jesus.

Bloom tells his readers that Joshua was born to Miriam and Joseph and later called Jesus. "Some people believe that Joshua was more than a man, but this is not so. He was born like other children and he grew into manhood like everyone else. And when he died, at the age of 35, he died like anyone else, also."

Christians believe Jesus was crucified at the age of 33.

On Page 2, Bloom bluntly says, "Some people believed that Joshua was the son of God but we all know this isn't true, because God has no sons or daughters."

On the next page, amidst his own assertions, Bloom states that those who "follow the teachings of Christianity will not agree with my story," and then tells his tale about Joshua growing up Jewish under the Roman Empire until he is killed by soldiers.

The book ends, "Every nation, in every corner of the Earth, has had a man or a woman like Joshua living among them, speaking out against hurtful ways and unkind thoughts. That we remember Joshua today is a testimony to his powerful personality and to the people who surrounded him."

The book misleadingly identifies Jesus as a Jew and is "an attempt to blur the lines between Judaism and Christianity," Michael Miller, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, told The Jewish Standard of Hackensack, N.J.

Cohen said she is proud to have published it "because I thought it was very important for Jewish kids."

Bloom said he wrote "Bubbie and Zadie," recently reprinted in paperback in a school edition, to fill the Santa Claus gap for Jewish children. He wrote "The Man From Galilee" not so much to fill a gap as to answer questions Jewish children are bound to have at Christmas.

The book was printed in Israel and is for sale there, but Cohen said there was no controversy there because "the irony is that they know about Jesus in Israel, and Jewish identity is not a problem in Israel."