My father was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was raised Jewish, but really feel like I don’t know anything about my own religion. I am wondering what Jews believe about the afterlife. Also, I feel like I am at my wit’s end and want to turn to G-d, but I don’t know how, or even if it is an appropriate thing to do. Can you help?
Turning to G-d in times of need is what the Jewish people, individual and community alike, have done for thousands of years. Moreover, this (according to some major authorities) is the principle Torah concept of prayer, in which we are instructed to turn to G-d in times of need. Unlike all the other peoples of the ancient world, the Jewish people are still around to make the point.
As a Jew, you are party to a ‘special relationship’ with G-d, and He awaits your prayers and your relationship. Turn to Him; communicate, in your own words and in the words of the rabbinic prayers; find comfort in Him. Judaism believes strongly in the afterlife, and although life is valued beyond anything else, we believe that a person moves on from this world to a world in which there is no evil.
It sounds like you are ready to look into your roots. Do it. There is nothing to fear, and evethything to gain!