The Afterlife in Judaism

Genesis 3:19 shows why the Orthodox Jew does not accept cremation. It also shows a very this-worldly view about life after death - that there isn't anything until a final resurrection:

"... 19 In the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
you are dust,
and to dust you shall return."

The place of heaven and the soul is unclear in Judaism. Originally belief has nothing to do with these concepts, but near heighbours believed in the soul and heaven as places. The blissfulness of the spirit in the world to come, mentioned in the Mishnah (part of the Talmud), is a late belief to Judaism. Reform Jews do consider the view that there is a soul that continues whatever happens to the body and so cremation is permitted by them. There is a possibility of descent to a pit, the nothingness cut off from God (Job 7):

5 My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt;
my skin hardens, then breaks out afresh.
6 My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle,
and come to their end without hope.
7 "Remember that my life is a breath;
my eye will never again see good.
8 The eye of him who sees me will behold me no more;
while thy eyes are upon me, I shall be gone.
9 As the cloud fades and vanishes,
So he who goes down to Sheol does not come up;
10 he returns no more to his house,
nor does his place know him anymore.

The sadducees (for example at the time of Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth) did not believe in resurrection but the Pharisees did. The Orthodox also believe in the resurrection. This is the rising of the body on the last day, but the body may mean all that which makes a personality, but they too can talk of a world to come and a soul.

The point is that this is speculation, so the real focus of Judaism is this life and the sanctity of this life. This is the humanism at the heart of the Jewish faith and which relates well to secular thinking.