The casket carrying Leiby Kletzky, 8, is carried through a crowd of mourners for a funeral service in the Brooklyn borough of New York Wednesday, July 13, 2011.
Nachman Kletzky looked down at his son's coffin and solemnly thanked God for the few years he shared with his now-slain son.
Clutching a podium at the little boy's funeral in Borough Park on Wednesday, he said in a humble voice, "God gives and God takes. Thank you, God, for giving you to us for nine years.
"We have to thank you for what You gave us."
Leiby's ninth birthday would have been next week.
Standing before thousands of black-clad mourners in traditional Orthodox Jewish dress, Kletzky added through tears, in Yiddish, "Pray for your sisters and the rest of your family, including the entire Jewish nation, which is now part of our family."
Throngs of mourners packed into a narrow Brooklyn parking lot outside the Hechal Hatfila temple on Wednesday night for the funeral of murdered schoolboy Leiby Kletzky. Orthodox Jews from across the tristate area attended the service for the 8-year-old and offered their support to his devastated family.
Chaim Gross, 25, said of the reason he came to the funeral, "We are all Jews, and we feel one another's pain."
"Buses are going to come from New Square, Monsey, Lakewood - all the Orthodox neighborhoods," said Israel Figa, 27, who is visiting from Israel and staying with friends in the area.
The somber service was held in a lot on 56th St. in Borough Park, lined with speakers and illuminated by floodlights.
Leiby's small body, which was found dismembered in a Dumpster and in the freezer of accused murderer Levi Aron, was brought to the podium in a casket for the 30-minute service.
His remains were then loaded into a waiting hearse.
Throughout the day, mourners gathered outside the six-story brick apartment building where Leiby lived with his parents and four sisters to offer their condolences and help one another come to terms with the brutal and senseless killing.
Police officers guarded the entrance to the building.
Leiby's father was being spared the gruesome details surrounding his son's tragic death and did not yet know his only boy had been dismembered, a family friend said.
A sign posted outside their front door warned visitors not to discuss the issue.
"They didn't tell him his son was cut up," said Shia Dembitzer, 51. "It's bad enough. The less he knows right now the better."