Most Jews I know say no. But a rabbi on a "right wing’ talk show in the Bay Area says yes. While a rabbi at the largest conservative temple here says it is not sure and does not matter anyway.
I know the afterlife in Judaism is played down, but is there a definitive Jewish answer on this - is there life after death? If it is vaugue as seems to be the cause that is disconcerting as Chritianity evolved out of Judaism - sorry, not the best word to describe it.
I understand your dismay. I too was plagued by this question and was fortunate enough to ask someone whom I consider an expert, Roy Schoeman. He wrote “Salvation is from the Jews”, and I can not recommend this book highly enough. He said that Jews do believe in an after life but that they are uncertain about it’s definition. Because of this, most Jews do not concern themselves with what happens after death, unlike Christians, who live on earth with the goal of heaven never far from our minds.
The other thing to understand is that other than the fact that there is one god, who is the god of Israel and that he gave his law to the Jewish people; there really isn’t a Jewish creed or definitive Jewish Authority to go to get a definitive answer.
Just to give a little more detail to my previous post. Death is not the end. But because Judaism focuses on this world, we don’t have a lot of dogma on what happens after we die. So jews have a lot of freedom to fill in the blanks with their personal beliefs. Some will believe the righteous go to heaven, some that we are reincarnated, some that we wait for the messiah and are resurrected…
There are examples in Torah of the belief in an afterlife. Abraham, Moses and others were “gathered to their people”. A seperate action that happens after their death.
there are much more detailed discussions of the afterlife in Talmud about all this. But the bottom line traditional judaism believes in an afterlife, but what exactly it entails is open to interperation.