Worship and Practices
A rabbi has no more authority to perform rituals than any other adult male member of the Jewish community does. A rabbi is simply a teacher, a person formally educated in halakhah (Jewish law). He instructs the community, answers questions and settles disputes regarding the Jewish law. When a person has completed the necessary course of study, he is given a written document known as a semikhah, which confirms his authority to make such decisions.
Rabbis are the spiritual leaders of the Jewish community. They must minister to the community, lead community religious services and deal with many of the administrative matters related to the synagogue. It is important to note that the rabbi's status does not give him the authority to conduct religious services. Any Jew sufficiently educated to know what he is doing can lead a religious service. A service led by such a Jew is just as valid as a service led by a rabbi. It is not unusual for a community to be without a rabbi, or for Jewish services to be conducted without a rabbi.