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The OU became more active in broader American Jewish policy issues after 1924, when Rabbi Dr. Goldstein, the innovative spiritual leader of the West Side Institutional Synagogue of Manhattan became the president of the OU.Under Goldstein, the OU and its Rabbinical Council (a forerunner of today's Rabbinical Council of America, became a founding member of the Synagogue Council of America, along with representatives of the Reform and Conservative movements and their rabbinic affiliates.The OU Women's Branch was also organized during the 1920s to encourage the formation and support of active sisterhoods in OU synagogue's.
It was also involved in efforts to serve the religious needs of American Jewish soldiers as well as relief for European Jewry. Heinz Company's Vegetarian Beans became the first product to be kosher certified by the OU.
The OU was founded in 1898 by Rabbi Henry Pereira Mendes, and it serves today about 1,000 synagogues and congregations of varying sizes.
The need for a national Jewish Orthodox rabbinical organization in the early twentieth century was recognized by a number of groups.
JTS started as an Orthodox institution to combat the hegemony of the Reform movement.
At the time, there was no Conservative movement by name, though there was a range of liberalism within Orthodox Jewry.