Rabbi Teitelbaum of Blessed Memory
Rabbi Teitelbaum of Blessed MemoryIsrael news photo: file

The widow of a Brooklyn-born rabbi, murdered two years ago by terrorists in Mumbai, is facing an immigration nightmare that threatens to keep her from seeing her eight children in New York.

Frumet Teitelbaum, 37, an Israeli citizen, was stopped by US Customs and Border Protection agents at New York's Kennedy Airport after flying in from Israel on Feb. 5, the New York Post reported.

Since her husband's murder in the Mumbai massacre, Frumet, a religious-studies teacher, had been regularly traveling from Israel to the US to visit her children, ages 2 to 14, who are staying with her husband's family in Borough Park, Brooklyn. The children are all American citizens and are being schooled in New York.

Possible deportation

Her lawyer, Michael Wildes, said her frequent travels eventually raised a red flag with Customs officials, who cited her for overusing her visitor's visa and stamped the visa with restrictions that limit her visits.

She must leave the US again in early April or face possible deportation, authorities said.

Teitelbaum was living in Jerusalem with her husband, Rabbi Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum when he traveled to Mumbai for his work as a mashgiach, a supervisor and inspector of kosher foods. Together with another mashgiach, Rabbi Ben Tzion Kruman of Bat Yam, he had stopped by the Chabad center to pray and thank emissaries Rabbi Gavriel and Rabbanit Rivka Holtzberg for their hospitality, when Muslim terrorists attacked the compound.  Rabbi Teitelbaum, Rabbi Kruman, the Holtzbergs, and three others were murdered as part of a coordinated attack that killed 179 people across the Indian metropolis.

Wildes said he plans to appeal to Immigration Court and fight for the widow's rights based on a law that gives the immediate relatives of terrorist victims the right to a US green card and permanent residency. The law was passed following the 9/11 terror onslaught.

"Nobody in her situation should be worried about legal affairs or papers, and should not be treated in this fashion. I have faith that the immigration authorities will do the right thing," he told the interviewer.