Strengths and Values

Positive Judaism Classification of Strengths

Did you ever wonder why some people are more positive than others? It boils down to a choice. The choice to embrace a set series of strengths that lead people to achieve optimal living and the values that make life more fulfilling are comprised of 24 character strengths that fall under six broad virtue categories: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence. Positive Judaism has adopted the VIA Classification of Strengths framework (VIA Classification of Strengths) as the basis for the core traits and values of Positive Judaism by pairing each strength with their corresponding Jewish values, biblical teachings, and Jewish practice.


Core Traits Characteristics of the Six Core Traits
Wisdom/Chochma Cognitive strengths that support the acquiring and utilizing knowledge: perspective, curiosity, creativity, love of learning, and critical thinking
Courage/Ometz Lev Emotional strengths that develop the willpower to achieve goals in the face of internal or external opposition: bravery, perseverance, honesty, resilience
Humanity/ Enoshiut Interpersonal strengths that develop authentic human connections and friendship: love, kindness, social intelligence
Justice/Tzedek Civic strengths that support connections to community: teamwork, fairness, leadership
Temperance/Rogah Relational strengths that develop sufficiency and wholeness: forgiveness, humility, prudence, self regulation
Transcendence/ Emunah Metaphysical strengths that develop existential meaning: appreciation of beauty, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality


1. Wisdom Expanding on the core characteristics of Wisdom
Creativity/Yetzirah Thinking of novel ways to conceptualize and do things. Being original and having ingenuity.
Curiosity/Sakranut Having interest and the desire to explore and discover new topics. Being open to new experience.
Judgement/Din Able to be discerning and shift thinking and redirect in light of new information. Being a critical thinker.
Love of Learning/
Torah Lishma
Desire to master new skills and knowledge through formal and informal education. Being driven to gain knowledge.
Perspective/Da’at Having a broad mindset and the ability to provide wise counsel to others and self.


2. Courage Expanding on the core characteristics of Courage
Bravery/Gevurah Able to face physical and non-physical threat, difficulty, or pain, and to act on convictions even when unpopular.
Able to complete the task and to persist in the face of obstacles. Being persistent and industrious.
Speaking truth and having real integrity and being able to take responsibility for one’s actions, feelings, and affect on others.
Resilience/Koach Despite the situation, able to remain active, energetic, focused, and flexible. Able to bounce back.


3. Humility Expanding on the core characteristics of Humanity
Love/Ahavah Valuing caring and reciprocal relationships. Able to share and to be in genuine relationship with others.
Kindness/Chesed Able to be compassionate, nurturing, caring, and generous with others. Able to do good deeds altruistically.
Social Intelligence/
Chochma Chevratit
The capability to effectively navigate and negotiate complex social relationships and environments. Having common sense.


4. Justice Expanding on the core characteristics of Justice
Teamwork/Avodat Tzevet Able to participate and be loyal to a group. Being socially responsible and being a good citizen.
Fairness/Yosher Without bias, able to treat and support people the same and to give everyone an equal chance.
Leadership/Manhigut Supporting a group to accomplish tasks all the while maintaining good relations with and among the group members.


5. Temperance Expanding on the core characteristics of Temperance
Forgiveness/T’shuvah Able to give up requital of wrongdoing and to forgive wrongdoing and move from the need for vengeance.
Humility/Anavah Being free from pride or arrogance and not regarding oneself as more better than other people.
Prudence/Sechel Able to show good judgement and caution and avoid undue risks
Sameach B’chelko
Having self-control and disciplining and controlling appetites, emotions, and desire.


6. Transcendence Expanding on the core characteristics of Transcendence
Appreciation of Beauty/
Able to recognize beauty in nature, art, science, humanity, and excellence, in the profound and the mundane.
Hakarat Hatov
Having the ability to thankful and to be aware of the good and taking time to express appreciation.
Hope/Tikvah Believing that good will come for self and others. Having an optimistic mindset.
Humor/Simcha Able to bring lightheartedness, laughter, and smiles to self and to others through jokes, teasing, and play.
Spirituality/Ruchniut Having faith in a higher purpose and expressing connection and interest to the unknowable and unseen.


Click here to download the two-page Positive Judaism Classification of Strengths