Jewish Community Center

Troubled Waters - the Integration of the Riviera Club

07may2:00 pm3:30 pmTroubled Waters - the Integration of the Riviera ClubJoin us for a special screening and panel discussion of Emily Reuben's film Troubled Waters: The Integration of the Riviera Club

Event Details

The Riviera Club, founded on January 12, 1933, is one of Indianapolis’ most famous private swimming facilities. The designation as a private club ensured that members would only be surrounded by residents of the community they actively wanted to engage with. For some Hoosiers, like my Jewish father, membership was firmly denied.

Lawrence Reuben was, first and foremost, a proud Jew. His passion, however, was his career as a tough-as-nails attorney in which he sought opportunities to use the legal system as a form of activism. He and his brother and sister had grown up only a couple of houses away from the elaborate swim club, and like many children living in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood during the 50s, they also wanted to swim at the facilities. But as my dad so eloquently put it, “Being Jewish wasn’t popular.”

In fact, the unspoken rule at the Riviera Club wasn’t exactly a well-kept secret: No Blacks. No Jews. The Riviera Club offered socialization and relaxation at an affordable price, that is, if you met the criteria for the Membership Board’s approval…families composed of religious and ethnic minorities were all too often rejected. Larry was not one to be pushed around. He dreamed of the day that the Riviera Club would become desegregated. That’s why when the opportunity presented itself, he jumped, becoming the lawyer leading the charge against the Riviera Club’s discriminatory membership policies.

This film serves to archive the Bates v. Riviera Club Inc. legal case, wherein my father, Larry Reuben, and many other brave individuals led the charge against racial injustice in Indianapolis’ Butler-Tarkington neighborhood.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion with Emily Reuben, the film maker, Representative Ed Delany and Jimm Moody, Riviera Club General Manager. The discussion will be moderated by Kent Newton.

A JEDI (JCC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) initiative.



May 7, 2023 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm(GMT-04:00)


Arthur M Glick JCC

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Lev Rothenberg

JCC Director of Arts & Education

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